27 January 2014

Peek into a living cage

The new technology makes it possible to obtain high-quality three-dimensional images of the processes occurring inside living cells

DailyTechInfo based on Science, Space & Robots: New Imaging Technique Renders 3D Images of Live Cells Without Need for DiesA group of researchers from the University of Illinois (University of Illinois) has developed a new method of micrography, which allows you to obtain three-dimensional images with high resolution of the internal structures of living cells, which allows you to track the progress of processes occurring in them.

The most important feature of the new method is that the use of fluorescent dyes or other chemical compounds is not required for the survey, this technology, called White-light Diffraction Tomography (WDT), is implemented using a conventional microscope, a specialized attachment to the microscope and a white light source.

Photo: University of Illinois

The development of a new shooting technology, the description of which was published in one of the latest issues of the journal Nature Photonics (Kim et al., White-light diffraction tomography of unlabelled live cells), was carried out by a group of researchers led by Professor of Electrical Engineering and bioengineering Gabriel Popescu.

Here is what Professor Popescu says about this: "Taking pictures of the insides of living cells is one of the most basic scientific tools when conducting research on the functioning of cells, when determining the effects of drugs, for example, in the treatment of oncological diseases. Previously, we had to inject special dyes and special chemical agents into the cells, which in most cases affected the functioning of these cells. Thanks to the technology we have developed, we can see in every detail all the processes in living cells, absolutely without interfering with their natural behavior."

The WDT technology uses a component that is a prefix to a conventional phase contrast microscope (phase contrast microscope), while absolutely no intervention and changes in the design of the microscope itself are required. Currently, Professor Popescu has organized a new company, Phi Optics, whose specialists will adapt the WDT technology to all the most popular models of microscopes currently used by scientists. And in the video below, you can get acquainted with three-dimensional images of cells obtained using WDT technology.

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