New imaging tech allows visualization of nanoscale structures

This image shows a 3D super-resolution reconstruction of dendrites in primary visual cortex.

Since Robert Hooke’s first description of a cell in Micrographia 350 years ago, microscopy has played an important role in understanding the rules of life.

However, the smallest resolvable feature, the resolution, is restricted by the wave nature of light. This century-old barrier has restricted understanding of cellular functions, interactions and dynamics, particularly at the sub-micron to nanometer scale.

Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy overcomes this fundamental limit, offering up to tenfold improvement in resolution, and allows scientists to visualize the inner workings of cells and biomolecules at unprecedented spatial resolution.

Such resolving capability is impeded, however, when observing inside whole-cell or tissue specimens, such as the ones often analyzed during the studies of the …

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