Imaging and tracking of nano- and micrometer-sized organelles in cells with nanometer precision is crucial for understanding cellular behaviors at the molecular scale. Because of the fast intracellular dynamic processes, the imaging and tracking method must also be fast. In addition, to ensure that the observed dynamics is relevant to the native functions, it is critical to keep the cells under their native states. Here, a plasmonics-based imaging technique is demonstrated for studying the dynamics of organelles in 3D with high localization precision (5 nm) and temporal (10 ms) resolution. The technique is label-free and can track subcellular structures in the native state of the cells. Using the technique, nanometer steps of organelle (e.g., mitochondria) transportation are observed along neurite microtubules in primary neurons, and the 3D structure of neurite microtubule bundles is reconstructed at the nanometer scale from the tracks of the moving organelles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2878-2884
Number of pages7
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015



  • 3D tracking
  • intracellular organelle detection
  • microtubule structure mapping
  • plasmonic imaging
  • single-cell tracking
  • surface plasmon resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Biotechnology

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