Researchers in the Salk Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences (La Jolla, CA) found that—using two-photon microscopy—new brain cells began with a period of overgrowth, sending out a plethora of neuronal branches before the brain pruned back the connections. Read more

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It is difficult to obtain stable images of spinal cord cells because, unlike cells in the brain, these cells are surrounded by things that move—an articulated spine, a beating heart, and expanding lungs. Researchers from The Salk Institute (USA) report they have overcome this challenge by using new fluorescence imaging approaches… Read more

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Recent and upcoming deployments of satellite laser communication systems are bringing Internet-like speeds for data transmission in space. The result could be a revolution in communication, both on Earth and across the solar system. Read more

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Techniques such as optical nanoscopy and spectroscopy have expanded our capability to probe biological cells at the nanoscale. These techniques provide the opportunity to learn about disease mechanisms at the cellular level, and therefore to improve disease detection and diagnosis. Now we have developed approaches for cellular biosensing that use optical information.. Read more

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Cell membranes play an active role in many biological processes and are complex, highly heterogeneous media. They contain a variety of molecular species and structural elements that may interact with each other, leading to complex lateral diffusion behavior. Insights into this behavior could help in understanding the composition, organization, and function of membranes in cell [..]

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Live imaging using optical microscopes enables observation of live cells, tissues, and organisms, and is vital for biological research. The discovery of fluorescent proteins and the development of fluorescent probes has allowed us to monitor the dynamics of molecules of interest by combining fluorescent probes in live cells with detection using fluorescent microscopes. Read more

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The term fluorescence is often applied as a synonym for photoluminescence, although luminescence actually covers fluorescence and phosphorescence. Both of these terms describe the process of absorption of light at a higher energy and subsequent re-emission at a lower energy. In this article, the terms fluorescence and photoluminescence will be considered interchangeable. Read more

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Limited availability of tests to diagnose cancer in its early stages has contributed to an unfortunate prevalence of late-stage diagnoses and metastatic spread. For this reason, emerging technologies that promise early diagnosis constitute a key focus of research. Mid-infrared imaging (MIR), with its ability to enable in vivo medical diagnosis, is particularly interesting. Read more

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With certain cancers, such as ovarian cancers, a significant number of patients are non-responsive to the standard chemotherapy treatment. These patients, therefore, experience the negative side effects of chemotherapy without clinical benefits. With the ever-increasing number of available anti-cancer drug alternatives to chemotherapy…. Read more

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University of Leeds (UK)-led chemists have developed a new method for making fluorescing quantum dots (QDs) coated with a key biological sugar molecule, and using them to study how viruses like Ebola and HIV attach to proteins on the surface of healthy cells… Read more

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Engineering researchers at Harvard University, USA, have devised an electromechanical approach to creating windows whose opacity can be tuned with the proverbial flick of a switch. The approach—which involves the electrostatic deformation of nanowire-coated elastomer layers—is color neutral, and could prove much cheaper to manufacture than previous, largely electrochemical techniques. Read more

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Hyperspectral imaging benefits many fields of research, from medical imaging to environmental monitoring, but acquiring and transmitting the large amounts of raw data generated by the imaging technique can be cumbersome in practice, and data-compression algorithms can require lengthy reconstruction procedures at the other end of the pipeline. Read more

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Transparent metamaterials under development could enable computer chips and interconnecting circuits that use light instead of electrons to process and transmit data, representing a potential leap in performance. Read more

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Tracking how molecules move, form shapes, and interact within neurons and other cells offers a powerful view of biological processes that impact health. Now, work at Stanford University (CA), led by Nobel Laureate W. E. Moerner, demonstrates a marked improvement in the accuracy of such tracking — and of super-resolution microscopy in general. Read more

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A near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy system has been used to measure cerebral changes and oxygen utilization in vivo, offering a noninvasive diagnostic technique for neonatal brain injury. The system used the Acton series LS-785 lens-based spectrograph and the PIXIS:512F scientific CCD camera from Princeton Instruments of Trenton, N.J. The camera’s cooling technology ensured low-noise performance. Read [..]

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Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)’s Janelia Research Campus have developed a new light microscope that gives a clearer, more comprehensive view of biological processes as they unfold in living animals. The microscope produces images of entire organisms, such as a zebrafish or fruit fly embryo, with enough resolution in all three dimensions [..]

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Blindness caused by glaucoma, which affects the optic nerve, can be avoided if the disease is detected at an early stage of development. Despite diagnostic and therapeutic advances over the past 20 years, a significant proportion of patients with glaucoma still progress to blindness, often because of late diagnosis. Read more

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A three-camera microscope without moving parts enables fast and accurate tracking of individual enzyme molecules, their regulators, and catalytic product molecules simultaneously in the nuclei of living cells. A microscope has been developed to study when and where single molecules interact inside living cells, and how nuclear events and the environment regulate cellular activity and [..]

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Electrons are so 20th century. In the 21st century, photonic devices, which use light to transport large amounts of information quickly, will enhance or even replace the electronic devices that are ubiquitous in our lives today. But there’s a step needed before optical connections can be integrated into telecommunications systems and computers: researchers need to [..]

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An international team of physicians and medical school students demonstrated in vitro a new quantitative microscope technology based on stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) that could allow surgeons to distinguish normal brain tissue from tumors in real time. The new technique, named SRS microscopy… Read more

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