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Live-Cell Microscopy: A New Molecule for High-Resolution Imaging of the Cytoskeleton
May. 27, 2014

Live-Cell Microscopy: A New Molecule for High-Resolution Imaging of the Cytoskeleton

Like our own bodies, cells have their own skeletons called ‘cytoskeletons' and are made of proteins instead of bones. These network-like structures maintain the cell's shape, provide mechanical support, and are involved in critical processes of the cell's lifecycle. The cytoskeleton is an object of intense scientific and medical research, which often requires being able to observe it directly in cells. Ideally, this would involve highly-fluorescent molecules that can bind cytoskeletal proteins with high specificity without being toxic to the cell. Publishing in Nature Methods, EPFL scientists have exploited the properties of a new fluorescent molecule, also developed at EPFL, to generate two powerful probes for the imaging of the cytoskeleton with unprecedented resolution. These probes pave the way for the easier and higher quality imaging of cells, offering many scientific and medical advantages.
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Light-Field Microscopy: Imaging Entire Brain Activity of Living Animals in 3D
May. 21, 2014

Light-Field Microscopy: Imaging Entire Brain Activity of Living Animals in 3D

Researchers at the Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) and the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) in Vienna, Austria, collaborated with scientists at the MIT to create an imaging system, based on a technology known as light-field imaging, that reveals neural activity throughout the entire nervous system of living animals. This technique, the first that can generate 3D movies of entire brains at the millisecond timescale, could help to discover how neuronal networks process sensory information and generate behavior. The new approach is described in an online publication by the journal Nature Methods.
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Visualizing a Complex Electronic State
May. 20, 2014

Visualizing a Complex Electronic State

A material called sodium manganese dioxide has shown promise for use in electrodes in rechargeable batteries. Now a team of researchers has produced the first detailed visualization - down to the level of individual atoms - of exactly how the material behaves during charging and discharging, in the process elucidating an exotic molecular state that may help in understanding superconductivity. The new findings are reported this week in the journal Nature Materials.
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May. 19, 2014

WITec PaperAward for Outstanding Scientific Publications

The winners of this year's WITec PaperAwards have been announced. Research groups from the USA, France, and Germany won the PaperAwards in gold, silver, and bronze, respectively. The annual awards honor outstanding scientific publications that feature results acquired with a WITec instrument. Scientists from all over the world submitted more than 60 publications, from between January and December 2013, to this year's competition. A jury chose the three winning papers from among the submissions to be honored with a PaperAward. Selection criteria included the impact of scientific results and the innovation of the applied techniques.
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First Low-Energy Focused Ion Beam Microscope that Uses a Lithium Ion Source
May. 16, 2014

First Low-Energy Focused Ion Beam Microscope that Uses a Lithium Ion Source

Microscopes don't exactly lie, but their limitations affect the truths they can tell. For example, scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) simply can't see materials that don't conduct electricity very well, and their high energies can actually damage some types of samples. In an effort to extract a little more truth from the world of nanomaterials and nanostructures, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built the first low-energy focused ion beam (FIB) microscope that uses a lithium ion source.
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Synchrotron Infrared Nano-Spectroscopy: Studying Complex Systems on the Nanoscale
May. 15, 2014

Synchrotron Infrared Nano-Spectroscopy: Studying Complex Systems on the Nanoscale

For years, scientists have had an itch they couldn't scratch. Even with the best microscopes and spectrometers, it's been difficult to study and identify molecules at the so-called mesoscale, a region of matter that ranges from 10 to 1000 nanometers in size. Now, with the help of broadband infrared light from the Advanced Light Source (ALS) synchrotron at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), researchers have developed a broadband imaging technique (Synchrotron Infrared Nano-Spectroscopy) that looks inside this realm with unprecedented sensitivity and range. The results have been published in PNAS.
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Single-Molecule Fluorescence Imaging: New Technique Tracks Protein in Single HIV Particle
May. 14, 2014

Single-Molecule Fluorescence Imaging: New Technique Tracks Protein in Single HIV Particle

An interdisciplinary team of scientists from KU Leuven in Belgium has developed a new technique based on single-molecule fluorescence imaging to examine how proteins interact with each other at the level of a single HIV viral particle. The technique allows scientists to study the life-threatening virus in detail and makes screening potential anti-HIV drugs quicker and more efficient. The technique can also be used to study other diseases. The researchers' results were published in the journal ACS Nano. more
Super-Resolution Microscopy: Clarifying Molecular Self-Assembly
May. 13, 2014

Super-Resolution Microscopy: Clarifying Molecular Self-Assembly

A unique collaboration between chemists and mathematicians at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has led to a new super-resolution microscopy technique that enables the study of molecular self-assembly with an unprecedented level of detail. The researchers, led by TU/e professors Bert Meijer (Institute for Complex Molecular Systems) and Remco van der Hofstad (Department of Mathematics and Computer Science), publish their breakthrough in Science. The new technique opens a world of unique opportunities for the study of complex self-assembling materials with many potential applications in electronics, medicine and energy. more
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