Microscopes have helped improve advances in sciences by explicating detailed relationships between the structures and functions at different levels of resolution. Its development allowed scientists to make new insights into the body and disease. Now, owing to technological advancements, scientists in Seoul have developed a new type of microscope that can see through skulls.

A research team led by Professor Choi Wonshik at the Centre for Molecular Spectroscopy and Dynamics in Seoul has developed a new tool that has been able to create a microscopic map of neural networks in a mouse’s brain through the animal’s skull. The reflection matrix microscope puts in practice both hardware and a computational adaptive optics algorithm to correct faults in the image. It will make it possible to investigate living tissues that lie beyond thick bone layers with ease.

New Microscope

Scientists and researchers earlier used techniques that helped in capturing images of brain tissues of mice, however, most of them demanded a clear-cutting and opening up the skull. But, Three Photo Microscopy, a different method, uses a longer wavelength and a special gel to see through the bone. Owing to its restriction of only being able to provide an outlook by being limited to its ability to see only deep in the tissue, the method is not suitable for advanced researches. Furthermore, the combinations of frequencies often pose threat to the fragile biological structures as they often can be destroyed in the process. The new microscope, on the other hand, implements computational adaptive optics to create the first-ever high-resolution image of mouse neurons from outside the skull.

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Laser-scanning reflection-matrix microscopy (LS-RMM) works by detecting light scattering at the depth being imaged. It achieves a complete input-output response to the light-medium interaction, more commonly known as the reflection-matrix. The advantage of using this technique is that it utilizes the maximum number of photons that have been scattered due to the different obstacles in the path of the light beam. This helps in getting the picture of the neurons inside the mouse’s brain. It is important to note that the new technique demands a great deal of computing power to process all the data that it collects.

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The new laser-scanning reflection-matrix microscopy technique will help shed light on the roles and functions of biological structures. It will help us see it in its natural living context, and soon, will assist in assist in advanced neuroscience research by early disease diagnosis.

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