Super-high resolution optical microscopes, with powers that seemed physically impossible a decade ago, are poised to open a new era in imaging in molecular biology, according to a report scheduled for the Sept. 4 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, the ACS' weekly news magazine.
The new optical microscopes produce images that can identify the precise cellular locations of thousands of individual protein molecules with unprecedented clarity, C&EN Senior Editor Ivan Amato writes in the article.
"Once such super-resolution tools get into the hands of the many, instead of just the few who have built them, [scientists say], the effect on biology could be transformative," the article states.
Barely a decade ago, Amato explains, scientists would have scoffed at the notion of an optical microscope capable of resolving, or bringing into focus, objects as small as molecules. It would seem to defy an ironclad principle of physics dating to 1873.
However, the new generation of microscopes can do exactly that by detecting fluorophores and other fluorescent tags used to label protein molecules.
Reference: "Squint Busters: Tool Builders Are Pushing Optical Microscope Vision to Single-Molecule Sharpness"
Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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