Tag: imaging

Clear As Mud: Researchers Make Transparent Soil For Plant Research

By Ashley P. Taylor | September 25, 2012 8:39 am

clear soil

Plant researchers who want to study the roots of growing plants have a problem: Those roots are obscured by the soil in which the plant grows. But no more hiding. Now researchers have designed a transparent soil that lets them look at not only roots but also the microbes, good and bad, that colonize them.

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To Photograph Distant Planets, Just Turn Off the Starlight

By Sophie Bushwick | July 9, 2012 10:09 am

Although we can detect the planets orbiting distant stars through indirect methods, an optical image would provide much more information about how planets form and evolve. But those stars are so much brighter than the planets around them that the starlight simply drowns out the smaller orbs, like a flashlight beam in bright daylight. But now, researchers have developed an imaging system called Project 1640—a collaboration between the American Museum of Natural History, the California Institute of Technology, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory—that can create a dark space around a planet to snap its photo.

Update, July 16: The Project 1640 researchers provided some more images showing how the system works, so we assembled them into the gallery below.


Images courtesy of Project 1640


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space, Technology

Look at This: Atom Casts a Tiny Shadow

By Sophie Bushwick | July 5, 2012 11:56 am

atom shadow

In the right light, everything casts a shadow—even an atom. A large object creates a shadow by physically blocking the light flying past it, and even a miniscule atom or ion can prevent photons with specific wavelengths from reaching their destinations.

Australian researchers from Griffith University captured a relatively large ytterbium atom in an ion trap, and then hit it with light of a wavelength the ytterbium could absorb. When the light reached the detector, the missing photons that the atom had gobbled up left this negative space: the shadow of a single atom, less than a millionth of a meter in length.

[via Gizmodo]

Image courtesy of Kielpinski group, Griffith University / Nature Communications

MORE ABOUT: atom, imaging, ion, look at this

Watch Ants Sip Grenadine, Spheres of Algae Spin, and Other Small-Scale Spectacles in These Movies

By Valerie Ross | February 7, 2012 3:20 pm

The many-times-magnified photos of the Nikon Small World photomicrography contest entrance us year after year, with mesmerizing close-ups of nature’s microscopic marvels. Now, in the first Small World in Motion movie competition, we get to see the world’s wee wonders in action. The three winning films and eleven honorable mentions chronicle circulating blood, budding yeast, gestating eggs, and more.

First Place: This time-lapse video, at 10x magnification, traces the path of ink injected into an artery of a three-day-old chick embryo. As the ink spreads through the chick’s vascular system, the branching blood vessels and beating heart become clearly visible.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Technology

Tiny Head-Mounted Microscope Rides Along As Mice Go About Their Business

By Valerie Ross | September 15, 2011 12:49 pm

What’s the News: A new thumbnail-sized microscope will give researchers a way to see what’s happening in the brain of a mouse as it moves around and goes about its business. The microscope, described earlier this week in Nature Methods, weighs less than 2 grams—little enough that it can be fitted atop a rodent’s head—and tracks the activity of up to 200 brain cells.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, Technology

How to Make a Transparent Mouse with a Few Simple Ingredients

By Veronique Greenwood | August 31, 2011 3:02 pm

On the left: A mouse embryo preserved in para-formaldehyde. On the right: A mouse embryo soaked in Scale for two weeks.

What’s the News: The trouble with brains, organs, and tissues in general, from a biologist’s perspective, is that they scatter light like nobody’s business. Shine a light into there to start snapping pictures of cells with your microscope, and bam, all those proteins and macromolecules bounce it around and turn everything to static before you’ve gotten more than a millimeter below the surface. Scientists at RIKEN in Japan, however, have just published a special recipe for a substance that makes tissue as transparent as Jell-O, making unprecedentedly deep imaging possible.

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How to Take Stunning Microscopic Images–Without a Microscope

By Veronique Greenwood | August 16, 2011 8:15 am


New Camera Lets You Focus Photos After the Fact

By Valerie Ross | June 22, 2011 2:13 pm

What’s the News: Lytro, a Silicon Valley start-up, has designed a camera that lets you shoot first and focus later. The camera captures the far more light and data than traditional models, and comes with software that lets you focus the photo, shift perspective, or go 3D after you’ve taken the photo. The company plans to sell a consumer, fits-in-your-pocket model by the end of the year.

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