High-speed modulation structured illumination microscopy for enhanced 3D imaging

In the dynamic landscape of microscopy, recent advancements in both hardware and algorithms have propelled our capacity to delve into the microscopic wonders of life. However, the quest for three-dimensional structured illumination microscopy (3DSIM) has faced hurdles due to the complexities of polarization modulation and speed limitations.

Introducing the groundbreaking high-speed modulation 3DSIM system dubbed “DMD-3DSIM,” which integrates digital display with super-resolution imaging, ushering scientists into a realm of unprecedented clarity in observing cellular structures.

Highlighted in Advanced Photonics Nexus, the brainchild of Professor Peng Xi’s team at Peking University, this innovative setup revolves around a digital micromirror device (DMD) and an electro-optic modulator (EOM). By addressing resolution challenges head-on, it achieves a remarkable enhancement in both lateral (side-to-side) and axial (top-to-bottom) resolution, boasting a 3D spatial resolution reportedly twice as precise as traditional wide-field imaging techniques.

Practically speaking, the DMD-3DSIM system unlocks the ability to capture intricate details of subcellular structures, from the intricacies of the nuclear pore complex to the delicate network of microtubules, actin filaments, and mitochondria within animal cells. Furthermore, its application extends to the study of highly scattering plant cell ultrastructures, such as the composition of cell walls in oleander leaves and the intricate hollow structures found in black algal leaves. Remarkably, even within a mouse kidney slice, the system unveils a pronounced polarization effect within actin filaments.

This pioneering technology heralds a new era in microscopy, providing researchers with an unprecedented tool to unravel the mysteries of life at the cellular level with unparalleled precision and clarity.

The authors provide more information about their breakthrough in this video. Credit: Advanced Photonics Nexus (2023). DOI: 10.1117/1.APN.3.1.016001

An open gateway to discovery

Adding to the excitement surrounding DMD-3DSIM is the team’s steadfast commitment to open science. Xi and colleagues have made all the hardware components and control mechanisms freely accessible on GitHub, fostering a spirit of collaboration and inviting the scientific community to contribute and expand upon this groundbreaking technology.

Beyond its immediate impact on biological discovery, the DMD-3DSIM technique sets the stage for the evolution of next-generation 3DSIM. In the realm of live cell imaging, ongoing advancements in brighter and more photostable dyes, alongside the development of denoising algorithms and deep learning models rooted in neural networks, hold promise for extending imaging durations, improving information retrieval, and enabling real-time restoration of 3DSIM images from noisy datasets. By embracing both hardware and software openness, the researchers aim to chart a course toward the future of multidimensional imaging, fostering innovation and collaboration along the way.

Source: SPIE

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