New microscope helps create dazzling 3-D movies of live cells

March 5th, 2011 - 5:44 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 5 (ANI): Scientists at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus have invented a new microscope that will let researchers use an exquisitely thin sheet of light to peer inside single living cells, revealing the three-dimensional shapes of cellular landmarks in unprecedented detail.

The microscopy technique images at high speed, so researchers can create dazzling movies that make biological processes, such as cell division, come alive.

The technique is called Bessel beam plane illumination microscopy.

A major goal of biologists is to understand the rules that control molecular processes inside a cell. If one is trying to learn the rules of a game, it is better to have a movie of people playing the game than it is to have still photos - and the same is true for cells, says Janelia Farm group leader Eric Betzig.

He has been inventing and improving microscopes for more than 30 years.

The technique is described in a research article published online on March 4, 2011, in the journal Nature Methods. (ANI)

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