New research shows expanding tissue can boost the image resolution to about 25 nanometers.
New research shows expanding tissue can boost the image resolution to about 25 nanometers.

Researchers Develop Low-Cost High-Resolution Imaging

Researchers Develop Low-Cost High-Resolution Imaging

US MIT researchers have developed a way to make extremely high-resolution images of tissue samples, at a fraction of the cost of other techniques that offer similar resolution.
The new technique relies on expanding tissue before imaging it with a conventional light microscope, Eureka Alert reported on April 18.
Two years ago, the MIT team showed that it was possible to expand tissue volumes 100-fold, resulting in an image resolution of about 60 nanometers.
Now, the researchers have shown that expanding the tissue a second time before imaging can boost the resolution to about 25 nanometers.
This level of resolution allows scientists to see, for example, the proteins that cluster together in complex patterns at brain synapses, helping neurons to communicate with each other.
It could also help researchers to map neural circuits, says Ed Boyden, an associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT.
“We want to be able to trace the wiring of complete brain circuits,” says Boyden, the study’s senior author. “If you could reconstruct a complete brain circuit, maybe you could make a computational model of how it generates complex phenomena like decisions and emotions. Since you can map out the bio molecules that generate electrical pulses within cells and that exchange chemicals between cells, you could potentially model the dynamics of the brain.”
This approach could also be used to image other phenomena such as the interactions between cancer cells and immune cells, to detect pathogens without expensive equipment, and to map the cell types of the body.


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