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The Lead

Ultra-stable JILA microscopy technique tracks tiny objects for hours

July 2, 2015 8:44 am | by NIST | News | Comments

​JILA researchers have designed a microscope instrument so stable that it can accurately measure the 3D movement of individual molecules over many hours--hundreds of times longer than the current limit measured in seconds.

New technology looks into the eye and brings cells into focus

June 23, 2015 8:26 am | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Eye doctors soon could use computing power to help them see individual cells in the back of a...

Seeing more deeply with laser light

June 22, 2015 8:47 am | by Susan Reiss, National Science Foundation | News | Comments

A human skull, on average, is about 0.3 in thick, or roughly the depth of the latest smartphone...

Uncovering a dynamic cortex

June 22, 2015 7:37 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have proven that the brain’s cortex doesn’t...

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Cell density remains constant as brain shrinks with age

June 15, 2015 7:54 am | by Sharon Parmet, Univ. of Illinois Chicago | News | Comments

New, ultra-high-field magnetic resonance images of the brain by researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago provide the most detailed images to date to show that while the brain shrinks with age, brain cell density remains constant. The study, of cognitively normal young and old adults, was published in NMR in Biomedicine.

Microscope technique could speed identification of deadly bacteria

June 8, 2015 9:32 am | by The Optical Society | News | Comments

A new way of rapidly identifying bacteria, which requires a slight modification to a simple microscope, may change the way doctors approach treatment for patients who develop potentially deadly infections and may also help the food industry screen against contamination with harmful pathogens, according to researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

Evolving Electron Microscopes Push Even Deeper

June 3, 2015 2:58 pm | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

Electron microscopy is a multi-scale, multi-modal and multi-dimensional technique for imaging materials down to the atomic level. Developed in 1931 by German physicist Ernst Ruska and electrical engineer Max Knoll, the electron microscope (EM) has evolved from Ruska’s initial 400X capabilities to its current 10,000,000X performance.

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Microendoscope could eliminate unneeded biopsies

June 2, 2015 7:59 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

In a clinical study of patients in the U.S. and China, researchers found that a low-cost, portable, battery-powered microendoscope developed by Rice Univ. bioengineers could eventually eliminate the need for costly biopsies for many patients undergoing standard endoscopic screening for esophageal cancer.

Researchers find “lost” memories

May 29, 2015 7:27 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | News | Comments

Memories that have been “lost” as a result of amnesia can be recalled by activating brain cells with light. In a paper published in Science, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveal that they were able to reactivate memories that could not otherwise be retrieved, using a technology known as optogenetics.

Seeing the action

May 27, 2015 7:47 am | by Sonia Fernandez, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | News | Comments

Cells are biological wonders. Throughout billions of years of existence on Earth, these tiny units of life have evolved to collaborate at the smallest levels in promoting, preserving and protecting the organism they comprise. Among these functions is the transport of lipids and other biomacromolecules between cells via membrane adhesion and fusion.

New technique speeds nanoMRI imaging

May 26, 2015 11:11 am | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

NanoMRI is a scanning technique that produces nondestructive, high-resolution 3-D images of nanoscale objects, and it promises to become a powerful tool for researchers and companies exploring the shape and function of biological materials such as viruses and cells in much the same way as clinical MRI today enables investigation of whole tissues in the human body.

Faster, smaller, more informative

May 12, 2015 7:37 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A new technique invented at Massachusetts Institute of Technology can measure the relative positions of tiny particles as they flow through a fluidic channel, potentially offering an easy way to monitor the assembly of nanoparticles, or to study how mass is distributed within a cell. With further advancements, this technology has the potential to resolve the shape of objects in flow as small as viruses, the researchers say.

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A phone with the ultimate macro feature

April 29, 2015 12:45 pm | by The Optical Society | News | Comments

If you thought scanning one of those strange, square QR codes with your phone was somewhat advanced, hold on to your seat. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have recently developed a device that can turn any smartphone into a DNA-scanning fluorescent microscope. 

Portable MRI could aid wounded soldiers in Third World

April 24, 2015 8:37 am | by Kevin Roark, Los Alamos National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing an ultra-low-field magnetic resonance imaging system that could be low-power and lightweight enough for forward deployment on the battlefield and to field hospitals in the world's poorest regions.

A silver lining

April 24, 2015 7:43 am | by Julie Cohen, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | News | Comments

The silver used by Beth Gwinn’s research group at the Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, has value far beyond its worth as a commodity, even though it’s used in very small amounts. The group works with the precious metal to create nanoscale silver clusters with unique fluorescent properties. These properties are important for a variety of sensing applications including biomedical imaging.

Nondestructive 3-D imaging of biological cells with sound

April 23, 2015 8:28 am | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

Much like magnetic resonance imaging is able to scan the interior of the human body, the emerging technique of "picosecond ultrasonics," a type of acoustic imaging, can be used to make virtual slices of biological tissues without destroying them. Now, a team of researchers in Japan and Thailand has shown that picosecond ultrasonics can achieve micron resolution of single cells, imaging their interiors in slices separated by 150 nm.

Solidifying Image Acquisition

April 16, 2015 2:53 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Articles | Comments

Image analysis is of growing importance in science, and trends are observed for different layers of image acquisition. Quantifiable and reproducible data is a prerequisite for scientific publications. And, today, it isn’t sufficient to just acquire aesthetically pleasing images with a microscope. To get powerful scientific results, scientists must get as much information as they can from an image.

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Detecting lysosomal pH with fluorescent probes

April 9, 2015 11:51 am | by Allison Mills, Michigan Technological Univ. | News | Comments

Lysosomes are the garbage disposals of animal cells. As the resources are limited in cells, organic materials are broken down and recycled a lot; and that’s what lysosomes do. Detecting problems with lysosomes is the focus of a new set of fluorescent probes developed by researchers at Michigan Technological Univ.

How do you feel? Video of your face may tell all

April 7, 2015 7:42 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

Rice Univ. researchers are developing a highly accurate, touch-free system that uses a video camera to monitor patients’ vital signs just by looking at their faces. The technique isn’t new, but engineering researchers in Rice’s Scalable Health Initiative are making it work under conditions that have so far stumped earlier systems.

Microsecond Raman imaging might probe cells, organs for disease

March 30, 2015 1:03 pm | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A vibrational spectroscopic imaging technology that can take images of living cells could represent an advanced medical diagnostic tool for the early detection of cancer and other diseases. High-speed spectroscopic imaging makes it possible to observe the quickly changing metabolic processes inside living cells and to image large areas of tissue, making it possible to scan an entire organ.

High-tech method allows rapid imaging of functions in living brain

March 30, 2015 11:49 am | by Julie Flory, Washington Univ. of St. Louis | News | Comments

Researchers studying cancer and other invasive diseases rely on high-resolution imaging to see tumors and other activity deep within the body's tissues. Using a new high-speed, high-resolution imaging method, a team at Washington Univ. in St. Louis were able to see blood flow, blood oxygenation, oxygen metabolism and other functions inside a living mouse brain at faster rates than ever before.

Precocious GEM

March 30, 2015 7:46 am | by Michael Baum, NIST | News | Comments

Scientists working at NIST and the NIH have devised and demonstrated a new, shape-shifting probe, about one-hundredth as wide as a human hair, which is capable of sensitive, high-resolution remote biological sensing that is not possible with current technology. If eventually put into widespread use, the design could have a major impact on research in medicine, chemistry, biology and engineering.

MRI based on sugar molecule can tell cancerous from noncancerous cells

March 27, 2015 8:32 am | by Shawna Williams, Johns Hopkins Univ. | News | Comments

Imaging tests like mammograms or CT scans can detect tumors, but figuring out whether a growth is or isn't cancer usually requires a biopsy to study cells directly. Now results of a Johns Hopkins Univ. study suggest that MRI could one day make biopsies more effective or even replace them altogether by noninvasively detecting telltale sugar molecules shed by the outer membranes of cancerous cells.

New technique paints tissue samples with light

March 24, 2015 3:48 pm | by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

One infrared scan can give pathologists a window into the structures and molecules inside tissues and cells, enabling fast and broad diagnostic assessments, thanks to an imaging technique developed by University of Illinois researchers and clinical partners.

Green tea could improve MRIs

March 19, 2015 8:29 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Green tea’s popularity has grown quickly in recent years. Its fans can drink it, enjoy its flavor in their ice cream and slather it on their skin with lotions infused with it. Now, the tea could have a new, unexpected role—to improve the image quality of MRIs. Scientists report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces that they successfully used compounds from green tea to help image cancer tumors in mice.

Minimal device maximizes macula imaging

March 18, 2015 7:49 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

A smart and simple method developed at Rice Univ. to image a patient’s eye could help monitor eye health and spot signs of macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, especially in developing nations. The patient-operated, portable device invented at Rice is called mobileVision. It can be paired with a smartphone to give clinicians finely detailed images of the macula, without artificially dilating the pupil.

Study calls heart imaging into question for mild chest pain

March 14, 2015 2:05 pm | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

A big federal study finds that people who see a doctor for chest pain have no less risk of suffering a heart attack, dying or being hospitalized later if they are checked with a fancy newer type of CT scan rather than a simple treadmill test or other older exam. CT scans, a type of x-ray that gives a very detailed look at heart arteries, have been used for about a decade without evidence they are better or worse than older tests.

The secret of wrinkling, folding, and creasing

March 9, 2015 12:16 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

New research provides a general formula for understanding how layered materials form different surface patterns.                         

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life

March 2, 2015 8:08 am | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists have captured the first detailed microscopy images of ultra-small bacteria that are believed to be about as small as life can get. The existence of ultra-small bacteria has been debated for two decades, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive electron microscopy and DNA-based description of the microbes until now.

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