Rice University Scientists Devise Technique to Capture 4D Data using 2D Microscopes


Date : Mar 01, 2019 Author : PMR Editorial Staff Category : Healthcare

Rice University Scientists Devise Technique to Capture 4D Data using 2D Microscopes

Researchers at the Rice University have claimed to have developed a technique that lets them enhance the capabilities of standard laboratory microscopes and allows the equipment to capture 4D data without the requirement for adding any additional lenses or equipment.

A couple of years ago, researchers working at the Christy Landes lab of the chemist at Rice University introduced the concept of super temporal resolution microscopy that allowed a standard fluorescent microscope to capture molecules 20 times faster than traditional cameras allow. The scientists claim to have enhanced the technique which is expected to now allow microscopes to capture 3D spatial information along with an additional fourth dimension which is the movement of molecules over time. Researchers claim the technique could be vital for science as it would allow scientists to observe dynamic processes occurring within molecules. With this technique, scientists will be able to observe where the molecules are located and how fast do they move with time.

Researchers at the Rice University have claimed to have developed a technique that lets them enhance the capabilities of standard laboratory microscopes and allows the equipment to capture 4D data without the requirement for adding any additional lenses or equipment.

A couple of years ago, researchers working at the Christy Landes lab of the chemist at Rice University introduced the concept of super temporal resolution microscopy that allowed a standard fluorescent microscope to capture molecules 20 times faster than traditional cameras allow. The scientists claim to have enhanced the technique which is expected to now allow microscopes to capture 3D spatial information along with an additional fourth dimension which is the movement of molecules over time. Researchers claim the technique could be vital for science as it would allow scientists to observe dynamic processes occurring within molecules. With this technique, scientists will be able to observe where the molecules are located and how fast do they move with time.

For capturing 4D information using standard microscopes, Rice University researchers created two custom phase masks using transparent spinning disks which allowed them to change the shape of the image which was captured by the microscope’s camera. The unique shape consists of information about the positioning of the molecule in the 3D space and its behavior over time with respect to the field of view of the camera.

The novel technique uses the blurry blob microscopic image, termed as point spread function, to retrieve information about tiny objects which fall below the diffraction limit. With this technique, normal microscopes are able to capture minute details that would have otherwise been lost. The design of the custom phase masks is the key to success and an elaborate algorithm designed by Wenxiao Wang, an electrical and computer engineer at Rice University, makes the designing of the masks practical.

An assortment of innovations and research in the field of fluorescent microscopy is estimated to uphold the growth of confocal microscope market. Confocal microscopes are finding increasing applications in life sciences, biology, neurophysiology, material science, and neuroanatomy. In addition to this, widespread adoption of confocal microscopes across ophthalmology practices for diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases such as microbial keratitis is further fueling the demand.

Increasing government investments in biology and applied sciences coupled with the pervasive trend of leading market players collaborating for the development of new and innovative products is expected to bolster confocal microscopes market growth. Intensifying efforts towards leveraging the capabilities of microscopes in nanotechnology which, in turn, plays a crucial role in cosmetics, pharmacology, medicines, etc. is estimated to fuel the demand for confocal microscopes in the foreseeable future. Owing to these factors, the confocal microscope market is expected to witness moderate growth and is likely to surpass US$ 1 billion by the end of 2028.

However, the relatively higher cost of confocal microscopes and a lack of skilled professionals and experts required for manufacturing and use of the equipment is expected to dampen sales and hamper market growth.   


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