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A Perfect Match: Choosing the Right Digital Camera for your Microscopy Application
Feb. 10, 2014

A Perfect Match: Choosing the Right Digital Camera for your Microscopy Application

Capturing and documenting a true-to-life representation of your sample is an important aspect of microscopy, achieved using the digital camera. Digital cameras specialized for microscopy come in all shapes and sizes, and selecting the best camera for your system can be a daunting task. It can be of help to consider four main features that essentially dictate camera performance: color reproduction, sensitivity, live image quality and resolution. Being aware of what these parameters really mean for your chosen application will guide you to a camera to complete your microscope system and truly enhance your experience. more
Exploring Nanoscale Viscoelastic Properties
Feb. 03, 2014

Exploring Nanoscale Viscoelastic Properties

Development of advanced materials relies on a detailed understanding of nanoscale morphology and mechanical properties. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) has become a key tool in material science by providing this information. Contact Resonance imaging has emerged as a powerful AFM technique for its ability to quantitatively characterize the viscoelastic response of materials, its applicability to a wide range of materials, and its ability to provide this information quickly and at high resolution.
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Structure of the Diamond-lonsdaleite System
Jan. 13, 2014

Structure of the Diamond-lonsdaleite System

Hexagonal diamond or lonsdaleite (2H) is a new form of carbon which was found in meteorites [1]. For the first time it was obtained artificially [2] under conditions of static pressure exceeding 13 GPa and temperature greater than 1000 °C. Hexagonal diamond differs from the cubic one (3C) by the layers stacking. Crystal lattice of cubic diamond represent itself a sequence of atomic layers ABCABC..., whereas lonsdaleite lattice represents ABAB... stacking. Further, lonsdaleite was obtained mostly as a result of thermobaric treatment of carbon materials (for example, from graphite [3]). Britun V. et al. examined lonsdaleite obtained from graphite in high pressure chamber, and they have established that lonsdaleite is metastable martensite phase of carbon [4]. In [5] authors have synthesized nanocrystalline cubic diamond powder from C60, which contained lonsdaleite layers. Also diamond particularly was transformed into lonsdaleite during the diamond powder annealing [6].
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Simple Processing in Fiji
Dec. 27, 2013

Simple Processing in Fiji

Microscopy has become an important element of the toolkit available to biologists. Advances in equipment and techniques have moved the microscope from a sole observational tool to a quantitative instrument. However, the requirements in terms of imaging in view of quantification, and image analysis may often seem daunting for non-specialists. In this communication, we propose a couple of simple and intuitive image analysis methodologies, evolving around median filtering, using functions in-built in Fiji [1]. The first application was to count labeled cells in mice tissue slices, which could be generalized to "object" counting in inhomogeneous samples. The second application was to quantify the signal to noise ratio (SNR) for each image of a z-stack, so that imaging parameters could be adapted to retain a constant SNR throughout the stack of images. more
What You Should Know about Image Noise
Dec. 09, 2013

What You Should Know about Image Noise

Insufficient light causes a snowstorm effect on many photos and videos, as a result of noise. It is important to know the different reasons for this phenomenon. The choice of the right camera for a particular application can help to eliminate the undesirable effect or to put it to good use. Pixel count, refresh rate and sensitivity are the decisive criteria for photographers when purchasing a camera. But they are also of interest to life scientists and users of microscopes. Unfortunately, there is another criterion that is often overlooked: the noise behavior of the camera or, to be more precise: its signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Especially in professional applications, SNR is a major factor affecting image quality. Also, it is the characteristic that causes the greatest amount of misunderstanding.
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Nanowires: A Cathodoluminescence Study
Nov. 28, 2013

Nanowires: A Cathodoluminescence Study

As features of modern electronics shrink, the demands of the spatial resolution of the characterization techniques increase. One family of potential building blocks for future devices is nanowires. We show how low-temperature cathodoluminescence can be used to study variations in the emission from two types of nanowires: Nanowires with a GaInAs segment in an otherwise GaAs core and radial InAs quantum wells on an InP core. more
Why One Disk Is Better Than Two
Nov. 25, 2013

Why One Disk Is Better Than Two

A novel optical concept for a spinning disk confocal microscope is presented, which warrants maximal optical quality, speed and usability. It employs a single disk only instead of two, and it uses micromirrors instead of microlenses, thus minimizing chromatic aberrations and yielding an uncompromised performance over the full visible range from 405 - 700 nm. Careful optimization of coupling optics result in flat and homogenous illumination free of speckle artifacts, and the full optical performance is maintained over the full field of view. 
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Trouble-Free 2-Photon Microscopy
Nov. 20, 2013

Trouble-Free 2-Photon Microscopy

Two-photon (2P) absorption spectra of fluorescent dyes are broader than single-photon ones. Simultaneous 2P excitation of several dyes with a single wavelength (WL) is feasible and can be seen as an advantage. We used femtosecond (fs) pulsed fixed-WL infrared lasers with center WLs at 780 nm and 1040 nm, respectively, for Two-Photon Microscopy (2PM) in biologically relevant samples. The 1040 nm laser proved to be very efficient in exciting fluorescence from YFP and red fluorescent dyes, but also in generating second harmonic generation (SHG) from muscle tissue and collagen. We demonstrate that economical, small-footprint fixed-WL lasers can present adequate replacement for commonly used Ti:Sapphire (Ti:Sa) lasers, the size, price and handling of which causes considerable pain for microscope users.
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