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 Super-resolution microscopy takes on a third dimension

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Date posted: 03/02/2009

The shapes of some of the tiniest cellular structures are coming into sharper focus at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus, where scientists have developed a new imaging technology that produces the best three-dimensional resolution ever seen with an optical microscope.

With this new tool, scientists can pinpoint fluorescent labels in their images to within 10-20 nanometers - about ten times the size of an average protein - in all three dimensions. The researchers say they now have an extremely powerful technology that will help reveal how biomolecules organize themselves into the structures and signaling complexes that drive cellular functions.

Their new method adds a third dimension to a cutting-edge form of light microscopy that scientists at Janelia Farm have used for the last two years to create two-dimensional images that pinpoint the location of fluorescently labeled proteins with extremely high resolution. To push this form of microscopy to the next level -- three-dimensional imaging -- the researchers borrowed a strategy widely used in industry to measure vanishingly small distances, such as the subtle variations in height on the surface of a computer chip.

See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com



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