Cell Imaging/Cell Analysis: EUV-enabled spectrometry images cells in 3D at nanoscale

Researchers at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) have developed a spectral imaging instrument that maps cellular composition in 3D at the nanoscale.1 The system allows study of cells at approximately 100% greater detail than previously possible, enabling observation of cell response to drugs.

Precise positioning of cell samples allows laser drilling, which in turn enables chemical characterization and nanoscale anatomical charting in 3D
Precise positioning of cell samples allows laser drilling, which in turn enables chemical characterization and nanoscale anatomical charting in 3D.

The researchers explain that earlier laser-based mass-spectral imaging could identify the chemical composition of a cell and could map its surface in 2D at the microscale, but could not chart cellular anatomy in nanoscale or in 3D.

The instrument features a laser able to produce a hot, dense plasma stream that acts as a gain medium for generating extreme ultraviolet (EUV) pulses. When properly focused, the laser drills a tiny hole into a cell sample, enabling ions to evaporate from the cell surface. These ions can be separated and identified to determine chemical composition, and used to chart the anatomy of a cell.

1. I. Kuznetsov, Nature Commun., 6, 6944, doi:10.1038/ncomms7944 (2015).

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