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ACS Spring Meeting

The Spring '09 meeting of the American Chemical Society is currently underway in Salt Lake City. With the theme "Nanoscience: Challenges for the Future," there's sure to be some interesting microscopy research being presented.

Here are a few of my picks:
  • Studying spores with atomic force microscopy (AFM) – Alexander Malkin from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory discusses how in vitro AFM can be used to study microbial systems. For example, it can be used for directly visualizing the structural dynamics of single germinating bacterial spores. Yet another example of AFM's usefulness in biology.
  • Organic photovoltaics under the microscope – Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin simultaneously collected near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) images of transmission, fluorescence, and photocurrent to examine factors limiting efficiency of an organic photovoltaic device. Organic photovoltaics are one of the leading technologies for solar power.
  • Mixing microscopy and food– Researchers at Auburn University have used AFM to study of the nanostructure of food grade gelatin and polysaccharide water absorbents as well as for rapid identification of microorganisms tied to food safety. With all the food safety problems in the news, techniques to make sure food is safe before it gets to consumers are needed.
  • MEMS-based heater for electron microscopy - Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory together with Protochips Inc. are developing an in-situ MEMS-based heater chip that will aid in electron microscopy imaging of mononuclear catalytic species such as Au/Fe2O3 and Ir/MgO.

The conference included several talks on optical methods that overcome the diffraction limit:
Fluorescence photoactivation localization microscopy (FPALM)
Stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM)
Using fusions to EYFP
These all seem really nifty to me, but I've been hearing about various techniques to overcome the diffraction limit for several years (maybe more than several). What will it take for these techniques to find more use?



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