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posted by mattie_p on Saturday February 22 2014, @10:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the quantum-is-the-new-black dept.

amblivious writes:

"A team from the University of Queensland has demonstrated quantum imaging inside living cells for the first time. They were able to map structures within cells at scales as fine as 10nm, offering a 14% resolution enhancement over coherent light. Conventional optical imaging is limited by diffraction but by generating the photons with a more consistent phase as squeezed light the amount of diffraction can be minimized.

The ability to map living cells at this scale represents a significant breakthrough in imaging. These methods promise to reveal important new levels of cellular complexity and deliver profound benefits to biotech and medical research, and 'confirm the longstanding prediction that quantum correlated light can enhance spatial resolution at the nanoscale and in biology.'"

 
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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by L.M.T. Spoon on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:35PM

    by L.M.T. Spoon (641) on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:35PM (#4866)

    I have been wondering about this too, and so far haven't seen anything particularly revolutionary. A cellular/molecular biologist is very interested in structure and there are many already existing techniques to elucidate it efficiently. For instance, if you are interested in the cytoskeleton you can easily triple-stain the cell for tubulin, actin, and DNA and get good enough resolution to see any significant effect of drugs, mutations, etc. Atomic force microscopes reveal in great resolution the structure of the cellular surface. X-ray crystallography reveals the structure of proteins, ribosomes, etc. DNA and RNA is relatively easy to sequence, and I'm not sure how this new technique would add to that, or to determining epigenetic markers. Organelles are generally large enough to not require such nanoscale imaging.

    All that being said, however, there are certain things that this new technique may be very helpful with. The first thing that comes to my head is imaging pores in the nuclear, cellular, and organelle membranes. Nuclear trafficking, for one, is a very important topic and the behavior of nuclear pores has only recently been studied successfully. These pores are examples of structures that are difficult to extract whole out of the cell without damaging them, their function is changed by very tiny mechanical shifts, and their structure is very conducive to passing nanoparticles through.

    This sort of study would definitely begin as what you call "generic" research, but it definitely has clinical applications.

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