Understanding exactly how droplets and bubbles stick to surfaces is a 100-year-old problem that has eluded experimental answers. Furthermore, it's a question with implications for everything from how to improve power plant efficiency to how to reduce fogging on windshields. Now, thanks to the help of a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a scanning electron microscope, this longstanding problem has finally been licked.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reveals details of living tissues, diseased organs and tumors inside the body without x-rays or surgery. What if the same technology could peer down to the level of atoms? Physicists in New York and Germany have worked together to make this type of nanoscale MRI possible. To do this, researchers used the tiny imperfections in diamond crystals known as nitrogen-vacancy centers.
Microscope manufacturer FEI Company this week announced that Maria Carbajo from the Universidad de Extemadura, Spain, is the winner of the FEI Image Contest for her “Spider Skin” image. The image was obtained using an FEI Quanta DualBeam scanning electron microscope.
Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and low temperatures, researchers have now succeeded for the first time in "filming" the complex process of protein folding. The process, visualized at atomic resolution, reveals how a protein progressively "loses its shape." The findings may help to gain deeper insights into how proteins assume their spatial structure and why intermediate forms of certain proteins misfold in the event of illness.
Researchers in Europe have recently developed an analysis method that allows objects to be imaged using X-rays or visible light with high accuracy despite fluctuations in wavelength or vibrations. Their method is based on a technique called ptychography, which was invented in the 1960s for microscopy using electrons and has further been developed during recent years to be a reliable high-resolution microscopy technique applicable with X-rays and visible light.
Every great structure depends on specific mechanical properties to remain strong and reliable. Rigidity is of particular importance for maintaining the robust functionality of everything from colossal edifices to the tiniest of nanoscale structures. In biological nanostructures it has been difficult to measure this stiffness, which is essential to their properties and functions. But scientists at the California Institute of Technology have recently developed techniques for visualizing the behavior of biological nanostructures in both space and time, allowing them to directly measure stiffness and map its variation throughout the network.
Two scientists in Switzerland have developed a device that can create 3D images of living cells and track their reaction to various stimuli without the use of contrast dyes or fluorophores. Using their combination of holographic microscopy and computation image processing, 3D images of living cells can be obtained in just a few minutes at a resolution of less than 100 nm.
Researchers recently found that nitrogen entering the ocean—whether through natural processes or pollution—boosts the growth and toxicity of a group of phytoplankton that can cause the human illness “amnesic shellfish poisoning”. Commonly found in marine waters off the North American West Coast, these diatoms produce a potent toxin called domoic acid. When these phytoplankton grow rapidly into massive blooms, high concentrations of domoic acid put human health at risk if it accumulates in shellfish.
“Zombie” mammalian cells that may function better after they die have been created by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico (UNM). The simple technique coats a cell with a silica solution to form a near-perfect replica of its structure. The process may simplify a wide variety of commercial fabrication processes from the nano- to macroscale.
Plant and animal cells contain two genomes: one in the nucleus and one in the mitochondria. When mutations occur in each, they can become incompatible, leading to disease. To increase understanding of such illnesses, scientists at Brown University and Indiana University have traced one example in fruit flies down to the individual errant nucleotides and the mechanism by which the flies become sick.
Sound waves are widely used in medical imaging, such as when doctors take an ultrasound of a developing fetus. Now scientists have developed a way to use sound to probe tissue on a much tinier scale. Researchers deployed high-frequency sound waves to test the stiffness and viscosity of the nuclei of individual human cells. The probe could eventually help answer questions such as how cells adhere to medical implants and why healthy cells turn cancerous.
Scientists may be a step closer to cracking one of the world's most compelling mysteries: the impossible complexity of the brain and its billions of neurons. Cornell University researchers have demonstrated a new way of taking high-resolution, 3D images of the brain's inner workings through a three-fold improvement in the depth limits of multiphoton microscopy, a fluorescence-based imaging technique with Cornell roots.
By using tiny liquid lenses that self-assemble around microscopic objects, a team from University of California, Los Angeles has created an optical microscopy method that allows users to directly see objects more than 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
The Barkhausen Effect is the noise in the magnetic output of a ferromagnet when the magnetizing force applied to it is changed. Almost 100 years after its initial discovery, a team of scientists in Alberta have harnessed this effect as a new kind of high-resolution microscopy for the insides of magnetic materials.
Biomedical researchers studying aging and cancer are intensely interested in telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. In a new study, scientists at UC Santa Cruz used a novel technique to reveal structural and mechanical properties of telomeres that could help guide the development of new anti-cancer drugs.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley researchers have discovered that the transcription factor protein TFIID co-exists in two distinct structural states, a key to genetic expression and TFIID’s ability to initiate the process by which DNA is copied into RNA.
Intelligence is not only a matter of humans and animals. Scientists speak also of intelligent molecules. The latter directly react to external stimuli and reversibly change their shape in response. Physicists in Europe have recently demonstrated this process for the first time with a single molecule.
Physicians may soon have a better alternative to endoscopy for screening patients for Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition usually caused by chronic exposure to stomach acid. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed an imaging system enclosed in a capsule about the size of a multivitamin pill that creates detailed, microscopic images of the esophageal wall.
The detailed changes in the structure of a virus as it infects an E. coli bacterium have been observed for the first time, report researchers in Texas. The researchers show that when searching for its prey, the virus briefly extends—like feelers—one or two of six ultra-thin fibers it normally keeps folded at the base of its head.
Investigators at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have invented a way to directly image biological structures at their most fundamental level and in their natural habitats. Their newly developed in situ molecular microscopy provides a gateway to imaging dynamic systems in structural biology
Nikon Instruments Inc. has introduced a new High Content microscope system which pairs the Ti inverted microscope with NIS Elements HC software to provide a dedicated interface for high content acquisition and analysis routines, built on an integrated database for seamless data management and processing.
The judges dove Down Under to select an Australian video of freshwater rotifers as First Prize winner in the 2012 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition. Ralph Grimm, a teacher from Jimboomba, Australia, captured the fascinating 58-second video showing the super-fast movements of tiny animals whose hair-like cilia beat constantly to sweep food into their mouths.
If nanoscience were television, we'd be in the 1950s. Although scientists can make and manipulate nanoscale objects with increasingly awesome control, they are limited to black-and-white imagery for examining those objects. Information about nanoscale chemistry and interactions with light—the atomic-microscopy equivalent to color—is tantalizingly out of reach to all but the most persistent researchers. But that may all change with the introduction of a new microscopy tool that delivers exquisite chemical details with a resolution once thought impossible.
Emerging from a panel of 2,400 medications and drug-like compounds tested in a tiny zebrafish, a compound has been pinpointed by researchers who say it regulates whole-body metabolism and appears to protect obese mice from signs of metabolic disorders. The discovery may help drug discovery efforts to help help the rising population of Americans adults at risk for diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
Using an enhanced form of "chemical microscopy" developed at NIST, researchers there have shown that they can peer into the structure of blended polymers, resolving details of the molecular arrangement at sub-micrometer levels. The capability has important implications for the design of industrially important polymers like the polyethylene blends used to repair aging waterlines.