Nanometer 3D Imaging Photographs Inside Cells

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RESEARCH Each time we peer over the precipice of a new imaging technology, the view is breathtaking. X-Rays, CT Scans, MRI and high-resolution digital imaging have each offered precious glimpses into remarkable worlds of science and diagnostic medicine.

Now on the biotech horizon is a method of capturing "3-D images or small semiconducting structures or proteins inside cells," according to a proposal in the November 20, 2009 Physical Review Letter. Images are constructed by examining how light scatters off of the sample and a nearby metal nanoparticle positioned with an atomic force microscope.

This opens up the possibility to see inside small structures, such as a bundle of proteins inside a cell membrane, without cutting or disturbing the sample. Other imaging methods are limited in what they may provide. Fluorescence results in a 2-D picture. Visible light can see details as small as tens of nanometers but currently reveal only surface detail.

Tags: molecular biology, medical research, microbiology, photography, physics, physiology, radiology, science


Read complete 2009 article at Physical Review Focus.