Thursday, December 2

This new microscopy technique shows us cells as we have never seen them before

Taking a good photo of a cell is complicated. Doing it in 3D was even more difficult, but a team of EPFL researchers have developed a new microscopy technique with which they achieve create high definition 3D images of cells.

The system not only captures photos in fact, and is able to monitor biological processes with that impressive visualization over time.

Let’s see, cell, say ‘cheese’

Scientists have used various techniques to capture images of cells, but all of them had their drawbacks. Electron microscopy could show spectacular details of a specimen’s surface, but cannot be used in living cells because the intensity of the electron beam destroys the sample.

Fluorescent microscopy avoids damaging the sample, but the resolution of these images is worse. What did the EPFL researchers do? Combine two already known techniques to resolve your limitations.

The first technique was use scanning probe microscopesBut since this method is invasive for cells, these researchers replaced the probe with a glass nanopore that measures ion flux without touching the sample. They called this method Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM).

This new technique was also combined with another called Stochastic Optical Fluctuation Imaging (SOFI) with which it is possible to observe the processes and molecules that make up cells. By combining both techniques they achieved create 3D images of both the inside and outside of cells.

As one of those responsible for the study explained, this technique “allows researchers to analyze the molecular arrangements inside the cell and determine their correlation with the dynamics of the membrane”, and also to do so over time. The result is “videos” in a format similar to those timelapse that we can do with our mobiles.

Via | NewAtlas

More information | ACS

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