New electron microscope allows you to see the atoms of living cells

The creation of electron microscopy in the 30sof the last century gave an incredible impetus to the development of all science. However, even modern electron microscopes do not always achieve the desired results. But the new development of scientists from Cornell University can make a real revolution: a new type of electron microscope allows you to see atoms in living cells without damaging them.

According to the editors of Nature magazine, the newthe approach to electron microscopy not only allows you to see individual atoms, but also learn about some of their properties. The technology that underlies the work is called EMPAD (Electron Microscope Pixel Array Detector). It allows you to consider individual atoms in motion. Using this technology and combining it with an electron microscope, scientists were able to capture a plot of 0.039 nanometers - this is smaller than the size of atoms, which, as a rule, is 0.1-0.2 nanometers. According to one of the authors of the work, professor of Cornell University Sol Gruner,

“In fact, this is the smallest line in the world. The resolution of the microscope was so good even at low powers that the team managed to detect the absence of one sulfur atom in the molybdenum disulfide layers. Molecular defect! This is amazing! ”

Next, EMPAD has been installed on variouselectron microscopes on the campus of Cornell University. The created devices were used at various capacities. The resulting EMPAD microscopes detect not only the direction, but also the speed of the incoming electrons, which allows you to get an incredibly high resolution.

“The analogy that I like to explaintechnology is a car that rides on you at night. You look at the light approaching you, but you cannot see the number plate between the headlights without being blinded. ”

Scientists are sure that EMPAD can not be usedonly on laboratory samples, but also on living cells, since the required energy is lower than with standard electron microscopy. It will be possible to observe various properties and processes at the molecular level in real time.