From Needle to a 3D Microscope

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Forty dollars in the name of science…peanuts huh? A University of Utah team of researchers discovered a method for turning a small, $40 needle into a 3-D microscope capable of taking images up to 70 times smaller than the width of a human hair. This new method not only produces high-quality images comparable to expensive microscopes, but may be implanted into the brains of living mice to retrieve images of cells.

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This new development could help science answer questions about particular proteins in brain function. The associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Utah, Rajesh Menon says with this microscope images of approximately 1-micron resolution can be attained which were only possible by a $250,000 and higher microscope.   Because the microscope can be assembled so inexpensively and easily go into hard-to-reach places, Menon expects many other uses for the device.

3dmicroscopeDesigned by Rajesh Menon and Ganghun Kim, another associate professor at the University explain that the microscope technique works when an LED light is illuminated and guided through a fiber optic needle or cannula. What you retrieve from this are reconstructed 3D images. Menon says this method is based primarily on computation.

These miniature images will enable scientists to gather images much smaller than is currently possible and at a much lower cost. This microscope should open up new avenues of research allowing researchers to use this in fields ranging from biochemistry to mining. Kudos to science and technology!!!!