Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wet scans

20.04.2004


The "scanning electron microscope" (SEM) has been a basic research tool for fifty years, and for those fifty years, scientists have been looking for better ways to observe biological samples under its beam. The problem is that the viewing chamber of the SEM must contain a vacuum (in which liquid water in tissues "boils" away). To overcome this difficulty, scientists have had to resort to all sorts of complicated procedures, including coating the specimens with an ultra-fine layer of gold, quick-freezing samples in special deep-freezes, or treating them with drying solvents.



Now, scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science have found a way to view samples of biological materials in their natural, "wet" state. Their secret lies in the production of a very thin but tough polymer capsule to enclose the sample, allowing it to withstand the force of the vacuum. Says Dr. Ory Zik, who worked on the capsule with Professor Elisha Moses of the Physics of Complex Systems Department: "The material for the capsule is a result of advances in the area of semiconductors. We came across it while researching ways to apply automation techniques used in the semiconductor industry to the life sciences’ scanning electron microscopes."

The capsule’s polymer is unique in that it is allows the electrons with which a SEM works to pass through unobstructed, giving scientists a clear view of what lies within, without the use of tricky, tissue-distorting procedures. Researchers hope the new method will advance the studies of biological materials, such as the lipids that make up fat, which are easily destroyed by the old sample preparation methods.


Since the discovery was made, Zik, in cooperation with Yeda, the business arm of the Weizmann Institute, has founded a company, called QuantomiX, based on this technology. The findings of the team were published in the March 9 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (PNAS).


Prof. Elisha Moses’s research is supported by the Clore Center for Biological Physics and the Rosa and Emilio Segre Research Award.

Alex Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.weizmann.ac.il/

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Polymer-graphene nanocarpets to electrify smart fabrics
18.04.2018 | Tomsk Polytechnic University

nachricht New capabilities at NSLS-II set to advance materials science
18.04.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

Im Focus: Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning

The Atlantic overturning – one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards – is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years. Sea surface temperature data analysis provides new evidence that this major ocean circulation has slowed down by roughly 15 percent since the middle of the 20th century, according to a study published in the highly renowned journal Nature by an international team of scientists. Human-made climate change is a prime suspect for these worrying observations.

“We detected a specific pattern of ocean cooling south of Greenland and unusual warming off the US coast – which is highly characteristic for a slowdown of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Improved stability of plastic light-emitting diodes

19.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics

19.04.2018 | Life Sciences

New capabilities at NSLS-II set to advance materials science

18.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>