Imaging of live, large-scale biological specimens is an important application for biological research. This is typically done using fluorescence microscopes that must achieve high resolution and clarity without damaging the specimen. The Lightsheet Z.1 fluorescence microscopy system from Carl Zeiss Microscopy LLC is specifically designed to protect the health and integrity of specimens.
Scanning probe technologies such as atomic force microscopes (AFMs) return spatial maps with atomic-scale detail; but until now, no equivalently accessible tool to investigate chemical and physical properties at such a length scale was available. Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have overcome this challenge by developing a tool to perform optical spectroscopy with a spatial resolution less than 10 nm, two orders of magnitude better than is possible with current technologies.
High-temperature testing of micro- and nanoscale materials has been limited by deleterious effects like oxidation or thermal drift. Despite this constraint on temperature level, the demand for this type of analysis means that heating stages are optional on many commercially available nanoindentation systems. Nanomechanics Inc. has improved available options with the introduction of the InSEM HT, which, for the first time, allows materials testing under load up to 500 C in an electron microscope or other vacuum environment.
At NIST, scientists have developed the first technology to effectively combine the best aspects of two or more different measurement techniques into a monolithic result, reducing measurement uncertainty through the application of model-based metrology.
High-resolution imaging, high-throughput scanning and laser processing share a common problem: Current approaches are not suited for non-flat surfaces or 3-D volumes because traditional optical systems can’t rapidly change the focal position or control the depth-of-field independently of the magnification. The TAGLens2.0 from Tag Optics Inc. solves these problems.
In recent years, tools for observing nanoscale structures have improved dramatically. However, laboratory bench electrochemistry has, until now, not been able to directly observe these structures. Protochips Inc. has leveraged the imaging capability of transmission electron microscopes (TEM) to provide this level of analytical performance.
Analysis of the electrical properties of nanostructures is crucial for the successful development of practical materials that take advantage of atomic-scale properties. Examination at this size regime can be accomplished with a variety of instrumentation, but few tools are as flexible and potent as a nanoprobe system. Oxford Instruments Omicron Nanoscience’s LT Nanoprobe, for example, offers four individual and independent ultrahigh-vacuum scanning probe microscopes (SPMs) to permit precise nanoscale electrical transport measurements.
Inverted benchtop microscopes are a staple of research laboratories. But the long-trusted architecture of these instruments has been slow to adapt to the proliferation of optics and filters that currently must be fitted peripherally in a manner that can slow research and clutter bench space. The Olympus IX3 Inverted Microscope Series offers a way to streamline both workspace and workflow by introducing an architecture that gives users access to the light path.
Polyethylene, an inexpensive commodity plastic, has been successfully used by researchers to synthesize the “ideal” polymer nanocrystal. Normally, this plastic is only partly crystalline, but a new catalyst has produced material that eliminates amorphous structures. The crystalline nanostructure could prove of interest to production of new kinds of coatings.
A Rice Univ. laboratory has improved upon its ability to determine molecular structures in 3-D in ways that challenge long-used standards. By measuring the vibrations between atoms using femtosecond-long laser pulses, the Rice laboratory of chemist Junrong Zheng is able to discern the positions of atoms within molecules without the restrictions imposed by x-ray diffraction and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.
A new study by Rice Univ. biophysicists offers the most comprehensive picture yet of the molecular-level action of melittin, the principal toxin in bee venom. The research could aid in the development of new drugs that use a similar mechanism as melittin’s to attack cancer and bacteria.
A recent invention at Purdue Univ. could improve therapy selection for personalized cancer care. Researchers have created a technique called BioDynamic Imaging that measures the activity inside cancer biopsies, or samples of cells. It allows technicians to assess the efficacy of drug combinations, called regimens, on personal cancers.
Lightsheet Z.1 from Carl Zeiss Microscopy is one of the winners of the 51st R&D 100 Award. As its name suggests, the Lightsheet Z.1 fluorescence microscope system operates with a light sheet—an expanded light beam that penetrates the specimen from the side.
High pressures and temperatures cause materials to exhibit unusual properties, some of which can be special. Understanding such new properties is important for developing new materials for desired industrial uses and also for understanding the interior of Earth, where everything is hot and squeezed.
The world’s most famous painting has now been created on the world’s smallest canvas. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have “painted” the Mona Lisa on a substrate surface approximately 30 micrometers in width—or one-third the width of a human hair. The team’s creation, the “Mini Lisa,” demonstrates a technique that could potentially be used to achieve nanomanufacturing of devices.
A team of researchers led by North Carolina State Univ. has developed a technique that provides real-time images of how magnesium changes at the atomic scale when exposed to radiation. The technique may give researchers new insights into how radiation weakens the integrity of radiation-tolerant materials, such as those used in space exploration and in nuclear energy technologies.
Cell biologists need high-resolution 3-D imaging to understand the structure-function relationships of organelles and other structures in cells, and the connectivity and organization of cells in tissues. Many of these structures are too small to be seen clearly in a light microscope and require the higher resolving power of an electron microscope.
The bacterium Yersinia can cause a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, fever and diarrhea. The bacterium’s pathogenic potential is based on a syringe-like injection apparatus called the injectisome. For the first time, an international team of researchers including scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research Germany, has unraveled this molecular syringe’s spatial conformation.
Researchers from NIST and the Univ. of California, Berkeley have discovered a way to create simultaneous images of both the magnetic and the electric domain structures in ferromagnetic/ferroelectric multilayer materials. By combining these two types of materials, it is possible to create low-power magnetic devices, including memory that can be controlled by electric fields instead of less energy-efficient magnetic fields.
Protochips has received an 2013 R&D 100 Award for its Poseidon 500 in situ electrochemistry system. The Poseidon 500 shrinks the typical electrochemical laboratory to the size of a microchip that fits inside an electron microscope. Researchers can exploit the high-resolution and analytical capabilities of modern electron microscopes to reveal fundamental physical properties of materials and optimize electrochemical systems.
A newly developed microscopy method that combines several imaging techniques is capable of recording the rapid movements of molecules in live samples. Called STED-RICS microscopy, the innovation relies on confocal scanning, fluorescence imaging using stimulated depletion emission technology and raster image correlation spectroscopy. It could help applications such as analyzing the dynamics of cell membranes at high protein concentrations.
Researchers in Switzerland have developed a live-cell fluorescent labeling that makes bacterial cell-to-cell communication pathways visible. The communication between bacterial cells is essential in the regulation of processes within bacterial populations, such as biofilm development.
Two new DualBeam systems from FEI feature innovative detection suites to provide high-quality imaging and fast analysis. The Scios DualBeam is specifically positioned for fast 2-D and 3-D characterization. The Helios NanoLab 660 DualBeam adds capabilities for specialized applications, such as the fabrication of prototypes for nanometer-scale devices.
Butterfly wings can do remarkable things with light, and humans are still trying to learn from them. Physicists have now uncovered how subtle differences in the tiny crystals of butterfly wings create stunningly varied patterns of color even among closely related species. The discovery could lead to new coatings for manufactured materials that could change color by design.
Researchers from NIST and the Univ. of Maryland have shown how to make nanoscale measurements of critical properties of plasmonic nanomaterials—the specially engineered nanostructures that modify the interaction of light and matter for a variety of applications. Their technique is one of the few that allows researchers to make actual physical measurements of these materials at the nanoscale without affecting the nanomaterial's function.