Axial profiling of interferometric scattering enables an accurate determination of nanoparticle size

Kateřina Žambochová, Il Buem Lee, Jin Sung Park, Seok Cheol Hong, Minhaeng Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interferometric scattering (iSCAT) microscopy has undergone significant development in recent years. It is a promising technique for imaging and tracking nanoscopic label-free objects with nanometer localization precision. The current iSCAT-based photometry technique allows quantitative estimation for the size of a nanoparticle by measuring iSCAT contrast and has been successfully applied to nano-objects smaller than the Rayleigh scattering limit. Here we provide an alternative method that overcomes such size limitations. We take into account the axial variation of iSCAT contrast and utilize a vectorial point spread function model to uncover the position of a scattering dipole and, consequently, the size of the scatterer, which is not limited to the Rayleigh limit. We found that our technique accurately measures the size of spherical dielectric nanoparticles in a purely optical and non-contact way. We also tested fluorescent nanodiamonds (fND) and obtained a reasonable estimate for the size of fND particles. Together with fluorescence measurement from fND, we observed a correlation between the fluorescent signal and the size of fND. Our results showed that the axial pattern of iSCAT contrast provides sufficient information for the size of spherical particles. Our method enables us to measure the size of nanoparticles from tens of nanometers and beyond the Rayleigh limit with nanometer precision, making a versatile all-optical nanometric technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10101-10113
Number of pages13
JournalOptics Express
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar 13

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Optica Publishing Group under the terms of the Optica Open Access Publishing Agreement.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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