Nav: Home

A new lens for microscopy has been developed

November 08, 2018

BFU physicists suggested a new model of a variable focus lens called a mini transfocator. It may be used in microscopic research that requires compact and mobile optical systems. The development was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science with a grant (No. 14. Y26.31.0002). The results were published in the Microscopy and Microanalysis journal.

Lens optical systems and X-ray lenses are currently used in microscopy, for making high-resolution X-ray images, and for focusing X-rays to submicron scale. To focus X-rays one may change the number or the combination of lenses. To do so, scientists use variable focus lenses or transfocators. These are systems with adjustable lenses that can be removed or added to an X-ray beam to regulate the focus distance. The configuration of a transfocator is easily changeable, therefore it is used for initial focusing in combination with other focusing elements, and also as an independent focusing device in a beam.

"These are the methods we suggested and successfully promoted at the ESRF synchrotron in France and at the German PETRA-III synchrotron at DESY. But for them to work, we need light and mobile transfocators. They should be easy to install and to adjust in the direction of a scattered or diffracted beam," says Anatoly Snigirev, the supervisor of the "Coherent Optics" specialization and the head of the X-ray optics laboratory at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University.

Traditional transfocators are quite heavy and cannot be used for X-ray visualization on site or for introscopy (non-invasive study of the structure and internal processes of biological objects). Moreover, gaps can occur between their cartridges. In such cases it becomes difficult to gradually change the focus distance as the lenses that are located close to each other and those spread along the beam will have different focus positioning. Mobile mini transfocators help to study the internal structure and peculiarities of biological samples and track changes in them. They are also used in the new area of studies called hard X-rays microscopy. The lens is used as an objective and shows the details of the sample with submicron or even nanometer resolution. This is especially relevant for studies carried out in extreme conditions (under high pressure or temperature) as well as for nondestructive studies of biological objects.

In the new transfocator model the lenses are attached individually on stacks and are located close to each other. Therefore, one lens can be easily removed or added, and the focus distance would change gradually. This type of construction is more compact and mobile. The length of the transfocator is 150 mm, the width - 100 mm, and the height - 90 mm, while its weight is less than 2 kg. Traditional transfocators depending on their function may be 0.5 to 1.5 m long and weigh from 20 to 100 kg. All materials and components are vacuum compatible and are manufactured using high-precision equipment. 50 independent lenses that stand in the way of the beam are moved by an electric engine.
The participants of the experimental studies also represented the European Molecular and Biological Laboratory in Hamburg (Germany) and the Research Accelerator Complex ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) in Grenoble (France).

Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University

Related Microscopy Articles:

Elusive atomic motion captured by electron microscopy
The movement of atoms through a material can cause problems under certain circumstances.
Next-generation microscopy
A novel microscopy method allows unprecedented insights into the spatial organization and direct interactions of immune cells within blood and liquid multi-lineage tissues.
Chip-based nanoscopy: Microscopy in HD quality
Physicists at Bielefeld University and the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø have developed a photonic chip that makes it possible to carry out super-resolution light microscopy, also called 'nanoscopy,' with conventional microscopes.
New microscopy method breaks color barrier of optical imaging
Researchers at Columbia University have made a significant step toward breaking the so-called 'color barrier' of light microscopy for biological systems, allowing for much more comprehensive, system-wide labeling and imaging of a greater number of biomolecules in living cells and tissues than is currently attainable.
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)--which enables the visualization of viruses, proteins, and other biological structures at the molecular level--is a critical tool used to advance biochemical knowledge.
A fine-tuned microscopy technique offers breakthrough imaging of melanoma
Researchers have recently refined a classic Raman-based technique and succeeded in imaging the two dominant melanin molecules -- a breakthrough that could lead to new understandings and, critically, early detection of melanoma
Background suppression for super-resolution light microscopy
Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a new fluorescence microscopy method: STEDD (Stimulation Emission Double Depletion) nanoscopy produces images of highest resolution with suppressed background.
Overcoming the limitations of optical microscopy
A research group led by Professor Dr. Benjamin Judkewitz at Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin is planning to overcome the limitations of optical microscopy and produce images of deeper tissue layers.
Peptides as tags in fluorescence microscopy
Advance in biomedical imaging: The Biocenter of the University of Würzburg in close collaboration with the University of Copenhagen has developed an alternative approach to fluorescent tagging of proteins.
First multicolor electron microscopy images revealed
The best microscope we have for peering inside of a cell can now produce color images.

Related Microscopy Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".