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Mirror Improves Microscope Resolution for Studying Cells

Author:PX    Post date:2016-08-01    Hits:1

 Mirror is probably the oldest optical elements that has been invented thousands years ago, yet still being used by us on a daily basis. By introducing a mirror behind the biological specimen, Dr. Peng Xi’s group in College of Engineering, Peking University have addressed a problem that has long challenged scientists: seeing the structures of cells with improved resolution in all three dimensions.

  The new technique uses the unique properties of light to create interference patterns as light waves pass through a cell on the way to the mirror and then back through the cell after being reflected. The interference patterns provide, at a single plane within the cell, significantly improved resolution in the Z-axis – what scientists see as they look directly into a cell perpendicular to the slide. This improved view could help researchers differentiate between structures that appear close together with existing microscope technology – but are actually relatively far apart within the cells.

  http://en.coe.pku.edu.cn/upload/images/news2016/201606/TOC1.jpg

  Figure 1 Schematic diagram and MEANS-STED imaging of NPC62, one type of the inner ring structure of nuclear pore complex.

  Microscope resolution in the X and Y axes is typically superior to resolution in the Z axis, regardless of the microscopy technique. The mirror approach works with super-resolution microscopy as well as with other technologies. Reported in the Nature journal Light: Science & Applications, the technique was developed by scientists at Peking University (China), the Georgia Institute of Technology (USA), and the University of Technology Sydney (Australia). With this technique, the team has achieved 19 nm resolution, which sets a new record for STED super-resolution on biological specimen.

  The co-first authors, Xusan Yang and Hao Xie are Ph.D students from College of Engineering, Peking University. Eric Alonas is from College of Engineering, Georgia Institite of Technology. The corresponding author of this paper is Prof. Peng Xi in College of Engineering, Peking University. This work is supported by National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and Ministry of Science and Technology China (MOST).

  This work has been highlighted by Nature Photonics, and reported on ScienceDaily, BioOpticsWorld, EurekAlert, Viral TechnologyNews, etc.

  Xusan Yang, et al., “Mirror-enhanced, axial narrowing, super-resolution microscopy,” Light: Science & Applications, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/lsa.2016.134