When it comes to nature, cells come in all shapes and sizes. Humans have been studying these cells for years now in attempts to get a better understanding of our world.
However, despite the advancements in clarity, current imaging technologies are still limited by the fact that any image we create, no matter how detailed, is still in 2D.
So far this has been enough to understand certain aspects of cell structures. But when you want to get a complete look at all the different parts of the cell in relation to their position with each other, proper 3D imaging is a must have.
Now, teams of researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia, Peking University in China, and the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, have found a way to remove this limitation for the first time.
In order to do that, these researchers have started using tiny mirrors to capture a true 3D view of cells in real time. This new method is being called MEANS (Mirror-Enhanced, Axial-Narrowing, Super-Resolution) Microscopy.
To make it work, the scientist grow cells directly on small mirrors. A glass cover slide is placed on top of these cells. This special slide can then be placed in any confocal or wide-field microscope for image capture.
The setup helps the observers capture various layers of the cell at different focal points, so that they can observe the behavior of different aspects of the cell in relation to their natural layering.
This new type of imaging is expected to give us a whole new dimension of understanding about all sorts of cells related to various fields of sciences.