See The First Color Images Of An Electron Microscope

Posted: Nov 4 2016, 11:51am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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See the First Color Images of an Electron Microscope
This is a two-color electron microscopy image of endosomal uptake of peptide proteins. Credit Adams et al./Cell Chemical Biology 2016
  • Electron Microscope Can Now Produce Color Images of Cells
  • See The First Multicolor Electron Microscopy Images

An electron microscope has been developed that can produce colored images of cells.

The best electron microscope can now allow colored pics to emerge of the small objects that are placed beneath its lens. Such microscopes can enlarge objects by upto ten million times their original size.

This development of multicolored electron microscopy was something which was pioneered by two experts in the field. They are Mark Ellisman and the late Roger Tsien, a 2008 Chemistry Nobel Prize laureate and visionary for cellular imaging who died unexpectedly over the summer.

The novel method which was tinkered with for a decade and a half used three basic colors (green, red and yellow) in its repertoire.

All three colors can be used in an image from the electron microscope. A detection device in the microscope catches electrons that have been lost from metal ions coated on the specimen. The loss is noted down in the form of signature colors.

The full color map is laid down on the image at the end of the process thereby lending a colored tinge to the pic. All this is almost like gazing at a colored photo after seeing black and white imagery for all one’s life. In electron microscopy such has been the case since the past half a century or so.

Now though it seems there is no going back to the good old days of black and white microscopy. The trend has many applications in biology. It can be used to differentiate cellular modules and keep a record of proteins and tag cells.

For the multicolored effect to be usable, the scientists needed metal complexes that had the stability to withstand proper application. These don’t disintegrate and neither do they cause blurred lines in the process.

Also they tend to have a unique electron energy loss signature of sorts. Ionized lanthanum, cerium and praseodymium were employed. They all belong to the lanthanide family of elements.

A method was needed to deliver the compounds in a sequential manner. A lot of intensive experimentation took place to see to it that this was a successful venture.

Two brain cells sharing a single synapse were viewed through the electron microscope. This new method is a kissing cousin of fluorescence microscopy.

The color scheme allows scientists to peer even more closely into the depths of various cells. The fact that the cells are live is another great advantage that this procedure possesses.

The development of multicolor electron microscopy, presented November 3 in Cell Chemical Biology,

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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