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Monday, January 30, 2017

New ultrasound technique is first to image inside live cells.

Researchers have developed a breakthrough technique that uses sound rather than light to see inside live cells, with potential application in stem-cell transplants and cancer diagnosis.Researchers at The University of Nottingham have developed a new nanoscale ultrasound technique that uses shorter-than-optical wavelengths of sound . The research published in the paper 'High resolution 3D imaging of living cells with sub-optical wavelength phonons' in the journal, Scientific Reports. Unlike light, sound does not have a high-energy payload, this has enabled the Nottingham researchers to use smaller wavelengths and see smaller things and get to higher resolutions without damaging the cell biology. People are most familiar with ultrasound as a way of looking inside the body but its being engineered to the point where it can look inside an individual cell. Nottingham is currently the only place in the world with this capability. Ultrasound in the cells causes no damage and requires no toxic chemicals to work, and this makes it possible to see inside cells that one day might be put back into the body,eg as stem-cell transplants.