Switchable stimulated Raman scattering microscopy with photochromic vibrational probes

Jianpeng Ao, Xiaofeng Fang, Xianchong Miao, Jiwei Ling, Hyunchul Kang, Sungnam Park, Changfeng Wu, Minbiao Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Photochromic probes with reversible fluorescence have revolutionized the fields of single molecule spectroscopy and super-resolution microscopy, but lack sufficient chemical specificity. In contrast, Raman probes with stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy provides superb chemical resolution for super-multiplexed imaging, but are relatively inert. Here we report vibrational photochromism by engineering alkyne tagged diarylethene to realize photo-switchable SRS imaging. The narrow Raman peak of the alkyne group shifts reversibly upon photoisomerization of the conjugated diarylethene when irradiated by ultraviolet (UV) or visible light, yielding “on” or “off” SRS images taken at the photoactive Raman frequency. We demonstrated photo-rewritable patterning and encryption on thin films, painting/erasing of cells with labelled alkyne-diarylethene, as well as pulse-chase experiments of mitochondria diffusion in living cells. The design principle provides potentials for super-resolution microscopy, optical memories and switches with vibrational specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3089
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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