Label-free flow cytometry using multiplex coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (MCARS) spectroscopy
Camp, Charles Henry, Jr.
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Over the last 50 years, flow cytometry has evolved from a modest cell counter into an invaluable analytical tool that measures an ever-expanding variety of phenotypes. Flow cytometers interrogate passing samples with laser light and measure the elastically scattered photons to ascertain information about sample size, granularity, and basic morphology. Obtaining molecular information, however, requires the addition of exogenous fluorescent labels. These labels, although a power tool, have numerous challenges and limitations such as large emission spectra and cellular toxicity. To move beyond fluorescent labels in microscopy, a variety of techniques that probe the intrinsic Raman vibrations within a sample have been developed, such as coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) and Raman microspectroscopy. In this dissertation, I present the first development of a label-free flow cytometer that measures the elastically scattered photons and probes the intrinsic Raman vibrations of passing samples using multiplex coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (MCARS). MCARS, a coherent Raman technique that probes a large region of the Raman spectrum simultaneously, provides rich molecularly-sensitive information. Furthermore, I present its application to sorting polymer microparticles and its use in two example biological applications: monitoring lipid bodies within cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a model yeast with numerous human homologs, and monitoring the affect of nitrogen starvation on Phaeodactylum tricornutum, a diatom, which is being genetically engineered to efficiently produce biofuels.