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New microscopes at NIH reveal live, developing cells in unprecedented 3-D clarity
Date:10/25/2013

to light even though they are only imaging one small section at a time. However, just as the sun can damage skin cells, too much light exposure can damage or even kill biological samples like embryos. SPIM uses a thin beam of light to illuminate only the single plane that is currently being imaged so the biological sample is not damaged by overexposure to light. However, the technology is limited because looking at a 3-D object from only one point of view does not provide a complete representation of the object -- in the same way that viewing a globe from one perspective gives no information about what is on the other side of the world. Traditionally, SPIM microscopes rotate the sample so that they can clearly see all the dimensions, but this severely limits the imaging speed and can increase the damage done to the cells from light exposure because of the many extra images taken at multiple angles. As a result imaging is also slowed down, and the ability to capture much of the fast moving cellular motion is lost.

In order to combat this problem, Shroff and NIBIB staff scientist Yicong, Wu, Ph.D., developed a dual-view SPIM (diSPIM) microscope with two separate detection cameras. The cameras are set at a 90 degree angle to capture perpendicular views of the sample. This perpendicular view results in undistorted 3-dimensional images, and since only two views are acquired, the microscope can still capture events at very high speed. Additionally, with relatively simple modifications, traditional single camera SPIM microscopes can be converted into the dual-camera diSPIM. The real challenge in developing this technology was to find a way to combine the two disparate images from the two cameras, which required the creation of a new post-processing software algorithm.

The increased speed at which the new dual microscope can image the cells allows for clearer images of even very fast moving viruses. Being able to see how a virus enters a cell, and once
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Contact: Jessica Meade
nibibpress@mail.nih.gov
301-496-3500
NIH/National Institute of Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering
Source:Eurekalert  

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