Deep and high-resolution three-dimensional tracking of single particles using nonlinear and multiplexed illumination


Molecular trafficking within cells, tissues and engineered three-dimensional multicellular models is critical to the understanding of the development and treatment of various diseases including cancer. However, current tracking methods are either confined to two dimensions or limited to an interrogation depth of ∼15 µm. Here we present a three-dimensional tracking method capable of quantifying rapid molecular transport dynamics in highly scattering environments at depths up to 200 µm. The system has a response time of 1 ms with a temporal resolution down to 50 µs in high signal-to-noise conditions, and a spatial localization precision as good as 35 nm. Built on spatiotemporally multiplexed two-photon excitation, this approach requires only one detector for three-dimensional particle tracking and allows for two-photon, multicolour imaging. Here we demonstrate three-dimensional tracking of epidermal growth factor receptor complexes at a depth of ∼100 µm in tumour spheroids.

Journal article
Nature Communications