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  • richardmitnick 5:51 am on August 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Microscopy   

    From UC Berkeley: “CNR Purchases Powerful New Microscope” 

    UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley

    August 1, 2014
    Karyn Houston

    A microscopy expert at UC Berkeley has won a grant to purchase an amazingly powerful new microscope that will enable scientists to study the tiniest of organisms.

    “This new microscope will enable researchers to see objects that are impossible to see using technology available at Berkeley today,” said Steve Ruzin, director of the Biological Imaging Facility, located on the UC Berkeley campus in Koshland Hall, in the College of Natural Resources.

    Ruzin is an expert in microscopes and his cutting-edge Biological Imaging Facilty serves thousands of faculty, students and staff. Not only are a wide variety of microscopes available for researchers to use, but the lab also teaches students and other researchers about microscopy, the technical field of using microscopes to view samples and objects that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

    “Cells have bustling shipping centers,” said Amita Gorur, a graduate student in the Randy Schekman Lab at UC Berkeley. “The Elyra PS.1 Super Resolution microscope will allow me to track and visualize cargo on a freight car moving along cellular rail roads from destination A to B in real time. These cellular shipping units are so small that only the resolution achieved by this microscope will allow us to see them. That’s powerful!”

    flagella
    Flagella of Giardia

    micro

    Differentiating Objects from One Another

    giardia
    Giardia

    The new $600,000 instrument, purchased with a National Institutes of Health grant, is a “Structured Illumination Microscope” that allows researchers to image and differentiate different parts of a cell, using different fluorescent dyes.

    “In microscopy, and any optical system, to ‘see’ something is the ability of the system (microscope, telescope, eye) to determine whether two closely spaced objects are, in fact, two objects or really only one larger object,” Ruzin said. This “limit of resolution” is determined by the wavelength of light that is used to illuminate the sample. The resolution limit was defined in the 1880s by the German scientist Ernst Abbe, and it is still valid today.

    “In practical terms this means that the smallest object that can be resolved in a light microscope is about one third of a micrometer, or 300 nanometers,” Ruzin said. To put that size into perspective:

    New Technology

    In the last few years three separate technologies have become available that overcome the limit of resolution. The new microscope uses one of these technologies called “Structured Illumination,” that illuminates the sample with a known pattern of light.

    The illumination pattern induces a complex light pattern that is emitted from the sample. Subsequent computer processing of the emitted pattern reveals sub-resolution structures within the sample. The new microscope will achieve a resolution of 100nm, and will be able to see objects that are 10 times smaller than a bacterium, or 10,000 times smaller than a period.

    Steve RuzinThis ability to resolve objects smaller than the theoretical limit is the reason a microscope like this is called a “Super-Resolution Microscope”. It will enable researchers to see:

    Arash Komeili’s lab in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology is one of the many labs on campus that will benefit from the new instrument.

    The Komeili group studies magnetosomes, bacterial organelles 50-70 nm in diameter that control the formation of magnetic nanoparticles. Due to their small size and tight arrangement within the cell, conventional fluorescence microscopy cannot distinguish between individual magnetosomes.

    “We anticipate that the improved resolution of the Structured Illumination Microscope will allow us to study the dynamics of specific proteins at the individual magnetosome level,” Komeili said.

    See the full article here.

    Founded in the wake of the gold rush by leaders of the newly established 31st state, the University of California’s flagship campus at Berkeley has become one of the preeminent universities in the world. Its early guiding lights, charged with providing education (both “practical” and “classical”) for the state’s people, gradually established a distinguished faculty (with 22 Nobel laureates to date), a stellar research library, and more than 350 academic programs.

    UC Berkeley Seal


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  • richardmitnick 6:33 pm on June 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Microscopy   

    From Argonne Lab: “Microscopy charges ahead” 

    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    May 28, 2014
    Jared Sagoff

    Ferroelectric materials – substances in which there is a slight and reversible shift of positive and negative charges – have surfaces that are coated with electrical charges like roads covered in snow. Accumulations can obscure lane markings, making everyone unsure which direction traffic ought to flow; in the case of ferroelectrics, these accumulations are other charges that “screen” the true polarization of different regions of the material.

    Ferroelectric materials are of special interest to researchers as a potential new form of computer memory and for sensor technologies.

    two
    Argonne materials scientists Seungbum Hong (left) and Andreas Roelofs adjust an atomic force microscope.Photo credit: Wes Agresta/Argonne National Laboratory.

    In order to see this true polarization quickly and efficiently, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new technique called charge gradient microscopy. Charge gradient microscopy uses the tip of a conventional atomic force microscope to scrape and collect the surface screen charges.

    “The whole process works much like a snowplow scraping along the roads,” said Argonne materials scientist Seungbum Hong, who led the research. “Before, all we had was a snowshovel.”

    Ferroelectric materials are not usually polarized in any particular way, but they are rather the combination of different domains that are each polarized in different directions. “The end goal of the research is to be able to map these different regions quickly and accurately,” Hong said.

    “Until now, the process of trying to map these regions has been incredibly arduous and time-consuming,” added Argonne Nanoscience and Technology interim division director Andreas Roelofs, who came up with the idea for the study. “What was taking us 10 to 15 minutes now takes seconds.”

    Previous efforts in this arena had focused on the application of a different kind of microscope using piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM). In this technique, an applied voltage causes a small displacement of atoms in the material, generating a noticeable mechanical effect, or vibration. In reverse, the same phenomenon is responsible for the workings of the lighters in gas grills.

    The problem with PFM is that it is very slow and requires sophisticated equipment to measure a tiny motion of the material. “Before, we had to sit on one spot for a long time to get enough signal to understand how the material moves because we could just barely sense it,” Roelofs said. “For the past 15 years or so, we’ve tried to increase the speed of the measurements and made only modest progress while adding a lot of complexity.”

    “Now, everyone can use a standard tool to do this work much more cheaply and efficiently,” he added.

    An article based on the study appears in the April 23 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    This research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

    See the full article here.

    Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more visit http://www.anl.gov.

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. To learn more about the Office of Science X-ray user facilities, visit http://science.energy.gov/user-facilities/basic-energy-sciences/.

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    Argonne Lab Campus


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  • richardmitnick 9:00 pm on May 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Microscopy   

    From Argonne Lab: “Microscopy charges ahead: 

    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    May 28, 2014
    Jared Sagoff

    Ferroelectric materials – substances in which there is a slight and reversible shift of positive and negative charges – have surfaces that are coated with electrical charges like roads covered in snow. Accumulations can obscure lane markings, making everyone unsure which direction traffic ought to flow; in the case of ferroelectrics, these accumulations are other charges that “screen” the true polarization of different regions of the material.

    Ferroelectric materials are of special interest to researchers as a potential new form of computer memory and for sensor technologies.

    In order to see this true polarization quickly and efficiently, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new technique called charge gradient microscopy. Charge gradient microscopy uses the tip of a conventional atomic force microscope to scrape and collect the surface screen charges.

    two
    Argonne materials scientists Seungbum Hong (left) and Andreas Roelofs adjust an atomic force microscope. Click to enlarge. Photo credit: Wes Agresta/Argonne National Laboratory.

    “The whole process works much like a snowplow scraping along the roads,” said Argonne materials scientist Seungbum Hong, who led the research. “Before, all we had was a snowshovel.”

    Ferroelectric materials are not usually polarized in any particular way, but they are rather the combination of different domains that are each polarized in different directions. “The end goal of the research is to be able to map these different regions quickly and accurately,” Hong said.

    “Until now, the process of trying to map these regions has been incredibly arduous and time-consuming,” added Argonne Nanoscience and Technology interim division director Andreas Roelofs, who came up with the idea for the study. “What was taking us 10 to 15 minutes now takes seconds.”

    Previous efforts in this arena had focused on the application of a different kind of microscope using piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM). In this technique, an applied voltage causes a small displacement of atoms in the material, generating a noticeable mechanical effect, or vibration. In reverse, the same phenomenon is responsible for the workings of the lighters in gas grills.

    The problem with PFM is that it is very slow and requires sophisticated equipment to measure a tiny motion of the material. “Before, we had to sit on one spot for a long time to get enough signal to understand how the material moves because we could just barely sense it,” Roelofs said. “For the past 15 years or so, we’ve tried to increase the speed of the measurements and made only modest progress while adding a lot of complexity.”

    “Now, everyone can use a standard tool to do this work much more cheaply and efficiently,” he added.

    An article based on the study appears in the April 23 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    This research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

    See the full article here.

    Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more visit http://www.anl.gov.

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. To learn more about the Office of Science X-ray user facilities, visit http://science.energy.gov/user-facilities/basic-energy-sciences/.

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    Argonne Lab Campus


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  • richardmitnick 7:52 am on October 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Microscopy, ,   

    From M.I.T.: “New kind of microscope uses neutrons” 

    October 4, 2013
    David L. Chandler, MIT News Office

    Researchers at MIT, working with partners at NASA, have developed a new concept for a microscope that would use neutrons — subatomic particles with no electrical charge — instead of beams of light or electrons to create high-resolution images.

    micro
    No image credit

    Among other features, neutron-based instruments have the ability to probe inside metal objects — such as fuel cells, batteries, and engines, even when in use — to learn details of their internal structure. Neutron instruments are also uniquely sensitive to magnetic properties and to lighter elements that are important in biological materials.

    The new concept has been outlined in a series of research papers this year, including one published this week in Nature Communications by MIT postdoc Dazhi Liu, research scientist Boris Khaykovich, professor David Moncton, and four others.

    See the full article here.


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  • richardmitnick 2:37 pm on July 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Microscopy   

    From Caltech: “Pushing Microscopy Beyond Standard Limits” 

    Caltech Logo
    Caltech

    07/29/2013
    Kimm Fesenmaier

    “Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have devised a method to convert a relatively inexpensive conventional microscope into a billion-pixel imaging system that significantly outperforms the best available standard microscope. Such a system could greatly improve the efficiency of digital pathology, in which specialists need to review large numbers of tissue samples. By making it possible to produce robust microscopes at low cost, the approach also has the potential to bring high-performance microscopy capabilities to medical clinics in developing countries.

    ‘In my view, what we’ve come up with is very exciting because it changes the way we tackle high-performance microscopy,’ says Changhuei Yang, professor of electrical engineering, bioengineering and medical engineering at Caltech.

    scope
    Artist’s rendering of the new microscopy setup showing one element of an LED array illuminating a sample.

    Yang is senior author on a paper that describes the new imaging strategy, which appears in the July 28 early online version of the journal Nature Photonics.

    Until now, the physical limitations of microscope objectives—their optical lenses— have posed a challenge in terms of improving conventional microscopes. Microscope makers tackle these limitations by using ever more complicated stacks of lens elements in microscope objectives to mitigate optical aberrations. Even with these efforts, these physical limitations have forced researchers to decide between high resolution and a small field of view on the one hand, or low resolution and a large field of view on the other. That has meant that scientists have either been able to see a lot of detail very clearly but only in a small area, or they have gotten a coarser view of a much larger area.

    ‘We found a way to actually have the best of both worlds,’ says Guoan Zheng, lead author on the new paper and the initiator of this new microscopy approach from Yang’s lab. ‘We used a computational approach to bypass the limitations of the optics. The optical performance of the objective lens is rendered almost irrelevant, as we can improve the resolution and correct for aberrations computationally.'”

    See the full article here.

    The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”
    Caltech buildings


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