Andor iXon and Zyla cameras helps drive microscopy from super to ultra-resolution
New method pushes the frontier in imaging resolution and distinguishes individual features in single molecules
Belfast, August 3, 2017 – Just as we are becoming familiar with super-resolution microscopes breaking the optical diffraction barrier to resolve details just 20 nm apart, scientists at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have demonstrated an optical resolution of less than five nanometers (<5 nm). The technology, which the team calls Discrete Molecular Imaging (DMI), was developed using either an ultra-sensitive Andor Zyla 4.2 or iXon Ultra 897 camera at its heart to achieve the highest resolution in optical microscopy yet seen.
Reporting in Nature Nanotechnology, Professor Peng Yin and his team detail DMI, an integrated set of new imaging methods that builds upon their DNA nanotechnology-powered super-resolution microscopy platform, DNA-PAINT. Because DMI can robustly image each individual molecular feature in a crowded molecular environment, it provides the capability for studying molecular conformations and heterogeneities in single multi-component complexes. It also complements current structural biology methods like X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy, and provides an easy, fast and multiplexed method for the structural analysis of many samples in parallel.
According to Professor Yin, “Proteins do not usually work in isolation but in larger complexes that enable cells to communicate with each other, move cargo around in their interiors, and replicate their DNA. Our ability to observe and track each individual protein within these machines is crucial to our ultimate understanding of these processes. The ultra-high resolution of DMI advances the DNA-PAINT platform one step further towards the vision of providing the ultimate view of biology.
“We used both the Andor Zyla 4.2 and iXon Ultra 897 cameras for our high resolution imaging work, choosing them for their very high quantum efficiency and high performance in general. In particular, given the demanding image analysis conditions under which we were working, the photon response non-uniformity of the iXon camera was measured to be as low as 0.3 %, allowing super-high precision single-molecule localisation in our experiments.” said Mingjie Dai, a researcher working at the Wyss Institute and first author of the work.
The DNA-PAINT technologies developed by Professor Yin and his team are based on the transient binding of two complementary short DNA strands, one being attached to the molecular target that the researchers aim to visualize and the other attached to a fluorescent dye. Repeated cycles of binding and unbinding create a precisely defined blinking behaviour at the target site. The blinking is highly programmable by the choice of DNA strands and has now been further exploited by the team’s current work to achieve ultra-high resolution imaging.
“By further harnessing key aspects underlying the blinking conditions in their DNA-PAINT-based technologies and developing a novel method that compensates for tiny but extremely disruptive movements of the microscope stage that carries the samples, the Harvard team managed to boost optical resolution microscopy far beyond that achieved anywhere else,” says Marcin Barszczewski of Andor. “The higher power of resolution and ability to focus on single molecular features provides a way to study single molecular features in complex environments. Ultimately, new DMI technology provides researchers with a way to study and later possibly diagnose certain diseases based on individual molecular signatures.
To learn more about the iXon series of scientific cameras, please visit the Andor website at http://www.andor.com.
Mingjie Dai, Ralf Jungmann, Peng Yin. “Optical imaging of individual biomolecules in densely packed clusters”Nature Nanotechnology, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.95
Andor is a global leader in the pioneering and manufacturing of high performance scientific imaging cameras, spectroscopy solutions and microscopy systems for research and OEM markets. Andor has been innovating the photonics industry for over 20 years and continues to set the standard for high performance light measuring solutions, enabling its customers to break new ground by performing light measurements previously considered impossible. Andor’s digital cameras, are allowing scientists around the world to measure light down to a single photon and capture events occurring within 1 billionth of a second.
Andor now has over 400 staff across 16 offices worldwide, distributing products to over 10,000 customers in 55 countries. Andor’s products are used in a wide range of applications including medical research to further the understanding of heart disease, cancer and neuronal diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Andor also has applications for forensic science and astronomy. Through continuous dialogue with customers and strong teamwork, Andor continues to innovate ground-breaking products that improve the world in which we live.
About Oxford Instruments plc
Oxford Instruments designs, supplies and supports high-technology tools and systems with a focus on research and industrial applications. Innovation has been the driving force behind Oxford Instruments’ growth and success for over 50 years, and its strategy is to effect the successful commercialisation of these ideas by bringing them to market in a timely and customer-focused fashion.
The first technology business to be spun out from Oxford University, Oxford Instruments is now a global company with over 2000 staff worldwide. Its objective is to be the leading provider of new generation tools and systems for the research and industrial sectors with a focus on nanotechnology. Its key market sectors include nano-fabrication and nano-materials. The company’s strategy is to expand the business into the life sciences arena, where nanotechnology and biotechnology intersect.
This involves the combination of core technologies in areas such as low temperature, high magnetic field and ultra-high vacuum environments; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; x-ray, electron, laser and optical based metrology; atomic force microscopy; optical imaging; advanced growth, deposition and etching.
Oxford Instruments aims to pursue responsible development and deeper understanding of our world through science and technology.Its products, expertise, and ideas address global issues such as energy, environment, security and health.
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