Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Motion pictures from living cells: Research team from Jena and Bielefeld improves superresolution microscopy

20.09.2019

In order to observe cells at work, researchers have to bypass a physical law. One of the fastest techniques to overcome the resolution limit of classical light microscopy is high-resolution structured illumination microscopy. It makes visible details that are about a hundred nanometres in size. However, translating the data back into images has taken a long time so far. A research team from the University of Bielefeld, the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology and the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena has now developed a technique to observe processes in the cell. The results were published in "Nature Communications" on September 20, 2019.

This graphics card normally helps computer gamers to have a great gaming experience. The researchers, however, use it to observe the smallest cell components in action — in real time and with a very high frame rate.


Images of the new microscope: The computer screen and the microscope images (right) show a bone cancer cell with mitochondria (blue) and endoplasmic reticulum (pink).

Bielefeld University/ W. Hübner

"The image data can be reconstructed about twenty times faster than it would take on a PC," explains Rainer Heintzmann of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT), who laid the foundations for the process of structured illumination in high-resolution microscopy back in 1998. Together with him, the Bielefeld research team led by Prof. Thomas Huser further expanded the technology of Super-Resolved Structured Illumination Microscopy (SR-SIM).

In the fluorescence microscopic method SR-SIM, objects are irradiated with laser light using a special pattern. It excites special fluorescent molecules in the sample so that they emit light at a different wavelength. The microscopic image then shows this emitted light. It is first recorded in several individual images and then reconstructed as a high-resolution image on a computer.

"The second step in particular has taken a lot of time so far," says Andreas Markwirth from the University of Bielefeld, the first author of the study. By using parallel computing methods on modern graphics cards for the new microscope, his team of researchers has now been able to significantly accelerate the image reconstruction process.

A minimum delay of 250 milliseconds is almost imperceptible to the human eye. The raw data can also be generated more quickly with the newly researched microscope.

Structures that are invisible to conventional microscopes

"This makes it possible to measure samples quickly and adapt test conditions immediately during an experiment instead of evaluating them afterwards," says Rainer Heintzmann, describing the practical benefits of the new technology.

The scientists tested the method on biological cells and recorded the movements of mitochondria, the energy centres of the cells that are about one micrometer in size. "We were able to produce about 60 frames per second — a higher frame rate than those of motion pictures. The time between measurement and image is less than 250 milliseconds, which is why the technology allows real-time recordings," says Andreas Markwirth.

So far, superresolution images have often been combined with conventional methods: A conventional fast microscope is used to first find structures. These structures can then be examined in detail using a superresolution microscope. "However, some structures are so small that they cannot be found with conventional microscopes, for example special pores in liver cells.

Our method is both high-resolution and fast, which enables biologists to investigate such structures," said Thomas Huser. Another application for the new microscope is the investigation of viral particles on their way through the cell. "This enables us to understand exactly what happens during infection processes," said Huser.

Superresolution microscopes have only been available for about 20 years. Ernst Abbe discovered in 1873 that the resolution of an optical system for visible light is limited to about 250 nanometres. In recent years, however, several optical methods have been developed in order to fall below Abbe's resolution limit. The Americans William E. Moerner and Eric Betzig, as well as the German Stefan Hell, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014 for developing a superresolution in the range of about 20 to 30 nanometers.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Prof. Dr. Rainer Heintzmann

Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT)
and Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Head of the Microscopy Department at Leibniz-IPHT //Head of the Biomedical Imaging Working Group
+49 (0) 3641 · 206-431
rainer.heintzmann(a)leibniz-ipht.de

Originalpublikation:

Andreas Markwirth, Mario Lachetta, Viola Mönkemöller, Rainer Heintzmann, Wolfgang Hübner, Thomas Huser, Marcel Müller: Video-rate multi-color structured illumination microscopy with simultaneous real-time reconstruction. Nature Communications, DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-12165-x, September 20, 2019.

Weitere Informationen:

Press release of the Bielefeld University on this topic: https://ekvv.uni-bielefeld.de/blog/pressemitteilungen/

Lavinia Meier-Ewert | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht MR-compatible Ultrasound System for the Therapeutic Application of Ultrasound
18.10.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik IBMT

nachricht NUS scientist designs 'express courier service' for immune cells
07.10.2019 | National University of Singapore

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Energy Flow in the Nano Range

18.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

MR-compatible Ultrasound System for the Therapeutic Application of Ultrasound

18.10.2019 | Medical Engineering

Double layer of graphene helps to control spin currents

18.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>