Consider the latest technological advances in microscopy. Incredibly impressive. I realize it may be a while before microscopes like these will be in the hands of students everywhere, but I imagine a future where students everywhere are literally viewing processes happening inside live cells, instead of receiving freeze-frame glass slides. Sometimes I feel as though I were born too late. I want what the future will be taking for granted.
World's Most Powerful Optical Microscope
Professor Lin Li and Dr Zengbo Wang Develop The Microsphere Nanoscope
By combining an optical microscope with a transparent microsphere the microsphere nanoscope can see 20 times smaller -- 50 nanometers ((5 x 10-8m) -- under normal light. This is beyond the theoretical limit of optical microscopy. The new nano-imaging system is based on capturing optical, near-field virtual images, which are free from optical diffraction, and amplifying them using a microsphere, a tiny spherical particle which is further relayed and amplified by a standard optical microscope. This mean we can examine the inside of live human cells without killing them in the process. The new method has no theoretical limit in the size of a feature that can be seen.
New Microscope Produces Groovy 3D Movies of Live Cells
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Develops Bessel Beam Plane Illumination Microscope
The scope uses a combination of Bessel Beams and Two-photon Microscopy to capture these 3d movies without harming the living cell. A Bessel beam is a special type of non-diffracting light beam studied by physicists in the late 1980s, and used today in applications including bar-code scanners in supermarkets. Sweeping the beam across the sample creates a thinner light sheet than conventional illumination methods. However, it creates a background blur. When they combined it with the two-photon method, the background from the Bessel side lobes was eliminated, and all that remained was the light from the narrow central part of the Bessel beam. As they had hoped, they found that they could take hundreds of three-dimensional image sets without harming the cell, generating amazing movies of cellular processes such as mitosis, where chromosomes divide as one cell becomes two.
See the Full Information at Howard Hughes Medical Institute Website
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Amazing, watch chromosomes separate during mitosis in live cells! (below)
Watch how a cell reaches flapping arms out like a collection bin, creating internal vesicles. (below)
An African green monkey kidney cell expressing the cancer signaling protein c-Src. (below)