Second harmonic (SH) microscopy has proven to be a powerful imaging modality over the past years due to its intrinsic advantages as a multiphoton process with endogenous contrast specificity, which allows pinhole-less optical sectioning, non-invasive observation, deep tissue penetration, and the possibility of easier signal detection at visible wavelengths. Depending on the relative orientation between the polarization of the incoming light and the second-order susceptibility of non-centrosymmetric structures, SH microscopy provides the unique capacity to probe the absolute molecular structure of a broad variety of biological tissues without the necessity for additional labeling. In addition, SH microscopy, when working with polarimetry, provides clear and in-depth insights on the details of molecular orientation and structural symmetry. In this review, the working principles of the polarization resolving techniques and the corresponding implements of SH microscopy are elucidated, with focus on Stokes vector based polarimetry. An overview of the advancements on SH anisotropy measurements are also presented. Specifically, the recent progresses on the following three topics in polarization resolved SH microscopy will be elucidated, which include Stokes vector resolving for imaging molecular structure and orientation, 3-D structural chirality by SH circular dichroism, and correlation with fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) for in vivo wound healing diagnosis. The potentials and challenges for future researches in exploring complex biological tissues are also discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)