Time-resolved surface-enhanced ellipsometric contrast imaging for label-free analysis of biomolecular recognition reactions on glycolipid domains

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We have applied surface-enhanced ellipsometry contrast (SEEC) imaging for time-resolved label-free visualization of biomolecular recognition events on spatially heterogeneous supported lipid bilayers (SLB). Using a conventional inverted microscope equipped with total internal reflection (TIR) illumination, biomolecular binding events were monitored with a lateral resolution near the optical diffraction limit at an acquisition rate of ~1 Hz with a sensitivity in terms of surface coverage of ~1 ng/cm(2). Despite the significant improvement in spatial resolution compared to alternative label-free surface-based imaging technologies, the sensitivity remains competitive with surface plasmon resonance (SPR) imaging and imaging ellipsometry. The potential of the technique to discriminate local differences in protein binding kinetics was demonstrated by time-resolved imaging of anti-GalCer antibodies binding to phase-separated lipid bilayers consisting of phosphatidylcholine (POPC) and galactosylceramide (GalCer). A higher antibody binding capacity was observed on the GalCer-diluted fluid region in comparison to the GalCer-rich gel phase domains. This observation is tentatively attributed to differences in the presentation of the GalCer epitope in the two phases, resulting in differences in availability of the ligand for antibody binding. The complementary information obtained by swiftly switching between SEEC and fluorescence (including TIR fluorescence) imaging modes was used to support the data interpretation. The simplicity and generic applicability of the concept is discussed in terms of microfluidic applications.


  • Anders Gunnarsson
  • Marta Bally
  • Peter Jönsson
  • Nicolas Médard
  • Fredrik Höök
External organisations
  • Chalmers University of Technology
  • University of Cambridge
  • Nanolane
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry


  • Antibodies, Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching, Galactosylceramides, Kinetics, Lipid Bilayers, Microfluidic Analytical Techniques, Microscopy, Phosphatidylcholines, Protein Binding, Surface Properties, Time Factors, Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6538-45
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug 7
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes