Hiroyuki Aoki

Abstracts

7 Generation Mechanism of Opto-Acoustic Wave from in vivo Imaging Agent

Authors: Hiroyuki Aoki

Abstract:

The optoacoustic effect is the energy conversion phenomenon from light to sound. In recent years, this optoacoustic effect has been utilized for an imaging agent to visualize a tumor site in a living body. The optoacoustic imaging agent absorbs the light and emits the sound signal. The sound wave can propagate in a living organism with a small energy loss; therefore, the optoacoustic imaging method enables the molecular imaging of the deep inside of the body. In order to improve the imaging quality of the optoacoustic method, the more signal intensity is desired; however, it has been difficult to enhance the signal intensity of the optoacoustic imaging agent because the fundamental mechanism of the signal generation is unclear. This study deals with the mechanism to generate the sound wave signal from the optoacoustic imaging agent following the light absorption by experimental and theoretical approaches. The optoacoustic signal efficiency for the nano-particles consisting of metal and polymer were compared, and it was found that the polymer particle was better. The heat generation and transfer process for optoacoustic agents of metal and polymer were theoretically examined. It was found that heat generated in the metal particle rapidly transferred to the water medium, whereas the heat in the polymer particle was confined in itself. The confined heat in the small particle induces the massive volume expansion, resulting in the large optoacoustic signal for the polymeric particle agent. Thus, we showed that heat confinement is a crucial factor in designing the highly efficient optoacoustic imaging agent.

Keywords: molecular imaging, in vivo imaging, nano-particle, opto-acoustic effect

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6 Development of Polymer Nano-Particles as in vivo Imaging Agents for Photo-Acoustic Imaging

Authors: Hiroyuki Aoki

Abstract:

Molecular imaging has attracted much attention to visualize a tumor site in a living body on the basis of biological functions. A fluorescence in vivo imaging technique has been widely employed as a useful modality for small animals in pre-clinical researches. However, it is difficult to observe a site deep inside a body because of a short penetration depth of light. A photo-acoustic effect is a generation of a sound wave following light absorption. Because the sound wave is less susceptible to the absorption of tissues, an in vivo imaging method based on the photoacoustic effect can observe deep inside a living body. The current study developed an in vivo imaging agent for a photoacoustic imaging method. Nano-particles of poly(lactic acid) including indocyanine dye were developed as bio-compatible imaging agent with strong light absorption. A tumor site inside a mouse body was successfully observed in a photo-acoustic image. A photo-acoustic imaging with polymer nano-particle agent would be a powerful method to visualize a tumor.

Keywords: Polymer, dye, in vivo imaging, nano-particle, photo-acoustic effect

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5 Nano-Particle of π-Conjugated Polymer for Near-Infrared Bio-Imaging

Authors: Hiroyuki Aoki

Abstract:

Molecular imaging has attracted much attention recently, which visualizes biological molecules, cells, tissue, and so on. Among various in vivo imaging techniques, the fluorescence imaging method has been widely employed as a useful modality for small animals in pre-clinical researches. However, the higher signal intensity is needed for highly sensitive in vivo imaging. The objective of the current study is the development of a fluorescent imaging agent with high brightness for the tumor imaging of a mouse. The strategy to enhance the fluorescence signal of a bio-imaging agent is the increase of the absorption of the excitation light and the fluorescence conversion efficiency. We developed a nano-particle fluorescence imaging agent consisting of a π-conjugated polymer emitting a fluorescence signal in a near infrared region. A large absorption coefficient and high emission intensity at a near infrared optical window for biological tissue enabled highly sensitive in vivo imaging with a tumor-targeting ability by an EPR (enhanced permeation and retention) effect. The signal intensity from the π-conjugated fluorescence imaging agent is larger by two orders of magnitude compared to a quantum dot, which has been known as the brightest imaging agent. The π-conjugated polymer nano-particle would be a promising candidate in the in vivo imaging of small animals.

Keywords: Fluorescence, conjugated polymer, in vivo imaging, nano-particle, near-infrared

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4 Segmental Motion of Polymer Chain at Glass Transition Probed by Single Molecule Detection

Authors: Hiroyuki Aoki

Abstract:

The glass transition phenomenon has been extensively studied for a long time. The glass transition of polymer materials is assigned to the transition of the dynamics of the chain backbone segment. However, the detailed mechanism of the transition behavior of the segmental motion is still unclear. In the current work, the single molecule detection technique was employed to reveal the trajectory of the molecular motion of the single polymer chain. The center segment of poly(butyl methacrylate) chain was labeled by a perylenediimide dye molecule and observed by a highly sensitive fluorescence microscope in a defocus condition. The translational and rotational diffusion of the center segment in a single polymer chain was analyzed near the glass transition temperature. The direct observation of the individual polymer chains revealed the intermittent behavior of the segmental motion, indicating the spatial inhomogeneity.

Keywords: Polymer Materials, Glass Transition, Single molecule, molecular motion

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3 Segmental Dynamics of Poly(Alkyl Methacrylate) Chain in Ultra-Thin Spin-Cast Films

Authors: Hiroyuki Aoki

Abstract:

Polymeric materials are often used in a form of thin film such as food wrap and surface coating. In such the applications, polymer films thinner than 100 nm have been often used. The thickness of such the ultra-thin film is less than the unperturbed size of a polymer chain; therefore, the polymer chain in an ultra-thin film is strongly constrained. However, the details on the constrained dynamics of polymer molecules in ultra-thin films are still unclear. In the current study, the segmental dynamics of single polymer chain was directly investigated by fluorescence microscopy. The individual chains of poly(alkyl methacrylate) labeled by a perylenediimide dye molecule were observed by a highly sensitive fluorescence microscope in a defocus condition. The translational and rotational diffusion of the center segment in a single polymer chain was directly analyzed. The segmental motion in a thin film with a thickness of 10 nm was found to be suppressed compared to that in a bulk state. The detailed analysis of the molecular motion revealed that the diffusion rate of the in-plane rotation was similar to the thin film and the bulk; on the other hand, the out-of-plane motion was restricted in a thin film. This result indicates that the spatial restriction in an ultra-thin film thinner than the unperturbed chain dimension alters the dynamics of individual molecules in a polymer system.

Keywords: Polymer Materials, Single molecule, super-resolution techniques, molecular motion, fluorescence microscopy

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2 Single-Molecule Analysis of Structure and Dynamics in Polymer Materials by Super-Resolution Technique

Authors: Hiroyuki Aoki

Abstract:

The physical properties of polymer materials are dependent on the conformation and molecular motion of a polymer chain. Therefore, the structure and dynamic behavior of the single polymer chain have been the most important concerns in the field of polymer physics. However, it has been impossible to directly observe the conformation of the single polymer chain in a bulk medium. In the current work, the novel techniques to study the conformation and dynamics of a single polymer chain are proposed. Since a fluorescence method is extremely sensitive, the fluorescence microscopy enables the direct detection of a single molecule. However, the structure of the polymer chain as large as 100 nm cannot be resolved by conventional fluorescence methods because of the diffraction limit of light. In order to observe the single chains, we developed the labeling method of polymer materials with a photo-switchable dye and the super-resolution microscopy. The real-space conformational analysis of single polymer chains with the spatial resolution of 15-20 nm was achieved. The super-resolution microscopy enables us to obtain the three-dimensional coordinates; therefore, we succeeded the conformational analysis in three dimensions. The direct observation by the nanometric optical microscopy would reveal the detailed information on the molecular processes in the various polymer systems.

Keywords: Polymer Materials, Single molecule, conformation, super-resolution techniques

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1 Structural Analysis of Polymer Thin Films at Single Macromolecule Level

Authors: Hiroyuki Aoki, Toru Asada, Tomomi Tanii

Abstract:

The properties of a spin-cast film of a polymer material are different from those in the bulk material because the polymer chains are frozen in an un-equilibrium state due to the rapid evaporation of the solvent. However, there has been little information on the un-equilibrated conformation and dynamics in a spin-cast film at the single chain level. The real-space observation of individual chains would provide direct information to discuss the morphology and dynamics of single polymer chains. The recent development of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy methods allows the conformational analysis of single polymer chain. In the current study, the conformation of a polymer chain in a spin-cast film by the super-resolution microscopy. Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) with the molecular weight of 2.2 x 10^6 was spin-cast onto a glass substrate from toluene and chloroform. For the super-resolution fluorescence imaging, a small amount of the PMMA labeled by rhodamine spiroamide dye was added. The radius of gyration (Rg) was evaluated from the super-resolution fluorescence image of each PMMA chain. The mean-square-root of Rg was 48.7 and 54.0 nm in the spin-cast films prepared from the toluene and chloroform solutions, respectively. On the other hand, the chain dimension in a bulk state (a thermally annealed 10- μm-thick sample) was observed to be 43.1 nm. This indicates that the PMMA chain in the spin-cast film takes an expanded conformation compared to the unperturbed chain and that the chain dimension is dependent on the solvent quality. In a good solvent, the PMMA chain has an expanded conformation by the excluded volume effect. The polymer chain is frozen before the relaxation from an un-equilibrated expanded conformation to an unperturbed one by the rapid solvent evaporation.

Keywords: chain conformation, polymer thin film, spin-coating, super-resolution optical microscopy

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