We determined the low-frequency vibrational modes of sevoflurane and isoflurane, two of the most representative volatile anesthetics, by anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy using adaptively phase-modulated femtosecond pulses. These modes were found to be associated with multiple halogen atoms. Because halogen atoms rarely appear in biological compounds, the entire spectral landscape of these modes is possibly a good marker for investigating the spatial localization of these drugs within the intracellular environment. We detected the unique CARS signal of sevoflurane for the first time in a live squid giant axon.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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