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New nanoparticle discovery to aid super-resolution imaging

New nanoparticle discovery to aid super-resolution imaging

Image: Prof Dayong Jin at his laboratory at UTS Science. Image by Anna Zhu.

ARC Future Fellow Professor Dayong Jin has led a team of researchers—from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), Macquarie University, The University of Technology Sydney, Peking University and Shanghai Jiao-tong university—to develop a new kind of highly sensitive microscopy that can visually study biological objects in much higher detail than was previously possible.

The technique uses tiny nanocrystals, which are infused into the biological cells or molecules to be studied, even while they are still alive. The crystals have a special luminescence that can be turned on and off with the stimulation of a low-powered semiconductor laser, acting like tiny microscopic light globes to illuminate the subject. Previous techniques required high-powered lasers, which damaged the biological material and provided poorer resolution.

The breakthrough means that microscopic biological processes can be studied in detail like never before. This will lead to a better understanding of the activity of enzymes, superbugs and the immune system, and will provide a new avenue to the design of better drugs to fight diseases.

Professor Jin said super-resolution imaging opens a lot of opportunities to understand how the life machine works, hopefully leading to a better understanding of antibiotic-resistant pathogens and diseases, and the immune system.


Media issued by ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP); Macquarie UniversityThe University of Technology Sydney.

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