Sub-Micron Chemical Analysis of Biological Samples with O-PTIR

O-PTIR is a breakthrough technique for sub-micron chemical analysis and imaging of live cells in water, red blood cells, mineral distribution in bone, single bacteria and many more life science applications.

It’s available with the mIRage IR microscope from Photothermal Spectroscopy Corp.

Blue Scientific is the official distributor for Photothermal Spectroscopy Corp in the UK and Nordic area (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland). For more information or quotes, please get in touch.

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O-PTIR: A Breakthrough Technique

O-PTIR (Optical Photothermal IR spectroscopy) is a new technique that’s already enabling breakthroughs in a variety of fields. It overcomes the traditional limitations of infrared:

  • Sub-micron level spatial and chemical detail
  • Non-contact measurement – no damage or contamination
  • Measure rough, hard, soft or sticky samples
  • No need for thin sections or surface preparation (very little sample preparation is required)
  • Simultaneous IR and Raman microscopy

All of this is possible in your lab with the mIRage IR microscope from Photothermal Spectroscopy Corp.

Our first user experiment in the field of Alzheimer’s went so well that the researchers are submitting a manuscript to a high impact journal. The OPTIR is a disruptive technology.
Ferenc Borondics Ph.D, Principal Beamline Scientist, SOLEIL Synchrotron, France
Porcine Stem Cell
Porcine stem cell sample (30 x 30 µm)

O-PTIR in Life Science

O-PTIR is a non-contact, reflection mode technique ideal for a variety of biological applications, already being used by researchers to unlock new information. Now you can perform sub-micron, spatially resolved chemical analysis on biological samples, with a label-free and objective technique.

Here are some examples of how sub-micron infrared can be used in life science and biology. For more information about whether it would be suitable for your area of work, please get in touch.

Image Live Cells in Water

The example below is an optical image of hydrated epithelial cheek cells in water. Key macro-molecules are easily distinguished in the spectra and spatially isolated. The small lipid inclusion down to 0.5-1 µm is resolved clearly. The spectra have not been corrected for water, so they include water absorbances.

Live cells in water
Hydrated epithelial cheek cells in water

These images were collected with a 0.5 µm step size in transmission mode:

Transmission mode O-PTIR
Transmission mode O-PTIR

IR & Raman on Red Blood Cells

In this example, a 70 x 70 µm area was selected from the optical image for Raman imaging. The Raman image was taken at 1583 cm-1. IRaman spectra were then acquired from a selected red blood cell, at ~500 nm resolution.

Infrared and Raman on red blood cells
Simultaneous infrared and Raman on a red blood cell

Mineral Distribution in Bone

In this final example, hyperspectral array images of mouse bone were acquired, displaying the distribution of minerals and protein. Spectra were taken from the inner bone, showing a higher absorption for phosphate.

Courtesy of Prof. Nancy Pleshko, Dr. Mugdha Padalkar and Jessica M. Falcon of Temple University.

Mineral Distribution on Bone
IR imaging of mineral distribution in bone

Single Bacterium IR Spectra

Measuring single cell bacteria with IR spectroscopy and the mIRage at the University of Liverpool:

Alzheimer’s Disease Research

Lund University published a scientific paper about how they used O-PTIR to study amyloid protein aggregation directly in neurons, without chemical processing, for Alzheimer’s Disease research. More info…

mIRage IR Microscope

mIRage IR Microscope

Benchtop sub-micron IR microscope from Photothermal Spectroscopy Corp. The mIRage was used to acquire all the images in this article.

More info…

Here’s a very quick demonstration of the workflow – how to acquire spectra using the mIRage:

More Information

We’re available to provide quotes and answer all your questions – just get in touch. Blue Scientific is the official distributor for Photothermal Spectroscopy Corp in the UK and Nordic region.

 Contact us on +44 (0)1223 422 269 or

 More articles about O-PTIR