Conceptually, biological cells are dielectric, photonic resonators that are expected to show a rich variety of shape resonances when exposed to electromagnetic radiation. For spheroidal cells, these shape resonances may be predicted and analyzed using the Mie theory of dielectric spheres, which predicts that a special class of resonances, i.e., whispering gallery modes (WGMs), causes ripples in the absorbance spectra of spheroidal cells. Indeed, the first tentative indication of the presence of Mie ripples in the synchrotron Fourier transform infrared (SFTIR) absorbance spectra of Juniperus chinensis pollen has already been reported [Analyst 140, 3273 (2015) [CrossRef] ]. To show that this observation is no isolated incidence, but a generic spectral feature that can be expected to occur in all spheroidal biological cells, we measured and analyzed the SFTIR absorbance spectra of Cunninghamia lanceolata, Juniperus chinensis, Juniperus communis, and Juniperus excelsa. All four pollen species show Mie ripples. Since the WGMs causing the ripples are surface modes, we propose ripple spectroscopy as a powerful tool for studying the surface properties of spheroidal biological cells. In addition, our paper draws attention to the fact that shape resonances need to be taken into account when analyzing (S)FTIR spectra of isolated biological cells since shape resonances may distort the shape or mimic the presence of chemical absorption bands.
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