The capabilities of using gold nanoparticle based near-infrared surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) to obtain biochemical information with high spatial resolution from human nasopharyngeal tissue were presented in this paper. The gold nanoparticles used have a mean diameter of 43 nm with a standard deviation of 6 nm. The SERS bands of nasopharyngeal tissue were assigned to known molecular vibrations of nucleic acids, amino acids, proteins, and metabolites. We also observed the blinking phenomenon at the tissue level when measuring the nasopharyngeal tissue SERS spectra, most frequently in signal intensity but also occasionally in peak positions. This phenomenon is excitation light intensity dependent. This work demonstrated great potential for using SERS imaging for distinguishing cancerous and normal nasopharyngeal tissues on frozen sections without using any dye labeling or other chemical species as functionalized binding sites.

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