Manipulating light to observe living systems
In our laboratory, we are conducting research to visualize living organisms and elucidate the functions of biomolecules using optical techniques. Specifically, we have proposed and demonstrated stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy with two-color laser pulses to sensitively detect molecular vibrations in living organisms. To enhance the molecular identification capability of SRS microscopy, we have developed a system to obtain SRS images at various molecular vibration frequencies using our original high-speed, wavelength-tunable laser. With this system, we are conducting various experiments to measure living organisms. Additionally, we are conducting research to analyze the complex structures, dynamics, and interactions within living organisms using techniques such as metabolic imaging and multi-color imaging with Raman-labeled molecules. Furthermore, we are conducting research to introduce quantum optics in order to increase the sensitivity of SRS microscopy. Although the signal-to-noise ratio of conventional SRS microscopy was limited by the quantum fluctuations of light, we aim to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio of SRS signals by introducing quantum mechanical light, called squeezed light, into SRS microscopy.