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SIMS21, Poland 2017 - Xiao-Ying Yu abstract

Xiao-Ying Yu oral presentation (OB3-Tue4-2-5)

In Situ Molecular Imaging of Biointerfaces by Liquid SIMS

Xiao-Ying Yu

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 760 6th St., WA 99354 Richland, United States


The surfaces of aqueous phases and films have unique kinetics and thermodynamics, distinct from the bulk. However, major surface analytical techniques are mostly vacuum-based and direct applications for volatile liquid studies are difficult. We developed a vacuum compatible microfluidic interface, System for Analysis at the Liquid Vacuum Interface (SALVI), to enable direct observations of liquid surfaces and liquid-solid interactions using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). SALVI was recently applied to investigate biomolecules and biological interfaces in living biofilms and single mammalian cells. Specifically, a variety of hydrated protein thin films were studied, providing the first in situ observation of interfacial water or biological water. In the single cell study, ion transport through the ion channel in the cell membrane was mapped in wet cells. In our most recent biofilm research, characteristic fragments of the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) were obtained for the first time, including proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, polymers, and distinct biomarkers. These species are useful to track the metabolic and electron transfer processes in the microbial communities. For example, biomarkers characteristic of quorum sensing as a result of biofilm response to environmental stressors such as Cr2O72- exposure and subsequent dispersion of the biofilm can be observed using this novel approach. Correlative imaging was employed to achieve a more holistic view of complexed biological systems across different space scales. In addition, electron transfer mechanisms of living biofilms as the electrode material are being studied using the electrochemical version of our microfluidic reactor. Our results demonstrate that interfacial chemistry involving important biomolecules and biological systems can be studied from the bottom up all based on microfluidics. Our transferrable microfluidic reactor sets the analytical foundation toward chemical imaging of complex phenomena occurring in multiple time and length scales, or the mesoscale, underpinning chemical changes at the molecular level in the condensed phase.