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New SCAPE-microscope allows you to quickly and easily take pictures of objects moving freely in the environment

03 February 2015, 10:27

   Scientists from Columbia University Medical Center have designed and manufactured a prototype of a new type of microscope SCAPE (Swept Confocally Aligned Planar Excitation Microscopy), for work that does not require any special training filmed samples. In addition, the new SCAPE-microscope is capable of producing three-dimensional survey of living objects, move freely in the environment, with the shooting speed is 10-100 times the speed shooting with the help of the best examples of laser raster (scanning) microscopes.
   At the core of the microscope SCAPE is modernized technology of optical microscopy-plane. But unlike other devices using similar technology, realized with the help move heavy lens with two lenses, SCAPE-microscope uses light lens with a lens that can cover (scan) all the shooting range at high speed.
   Because of this, when working SCAPE-microscope does not require constant focus lens on the subject and lock the object is stationary.
"This implementation does microscope SCAPE is very simple, fast and very inexpensive" says Professor Elizabeth Hillman (Elizabeth Hillman), - «With a few additions such a microscope can provide high-speed three-dimensional survey of cellular activity in samples of various kinds of living beings."
   With the help of a prototype microscope SCAPE-Colombian scientists have received a number of pictures, including pictures of zebra fish fry, which due to its small size found himself completely to capture microscope. Shooting freely moving beings produced with high speed and resolution, allows to monitor all the cell structure, function and activity of individual cells in real time.
   Skype microscopes can also be used to capture the activities of individual neurons in the moment of intense brain activity. However, this requires to make some modifications to the gene of a living organism, by which cells appear fluorescent proteins. The only drawback of the existing SCAPE-microscope is not very large depth of its penetration into living tissue, for example, the method of two-photon microscopy provides much greater depth survey. However, scientists have deep enough to shoot the work of neurons 'firing' signals propagating along a complicated tree structure in the upper layers of the brain of experimental animals.
   The group is currently Professor Hillman already is working to create SCAPE-microscope the next generation who will be able to provide even greater shooting speed, resolution, depth of penetration and high sensitivity. These new microscopes having less impressive performance can be used for three-dimensional microendoscopy and other studies in the clinical setting.


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