A team of scientists has developed a new technique for studying nanoparticles. It bypasses the limitations of standard microscopes and allows you to view particles as small as 25 nanometers or even smaller.
The researchers explained that current imaging techniques have limitations when looking at the smallest nanoparticles. This makes it difficult to study viruses and other structures at the molecular level.
Scientists from the University of Houston and the Texas Cancer Center published an article in the journal Nature Communications, where they talked about a new technology for optical imaging of nanoscale objects. They use scattered light to detect particles up to 25 nanometers in diameter. Called PANORAMA, the technology uses a glass slide coated with gold nanodiscs, which allows scientists to track changes in light transmission and determine the characteristics of an object.
The method can be used to detect, count and size individual dielectric nanoparticles.
The researchers noted that a standard microscope can capture images in the 100 to 200 nanometer range. This is because smaller objects do not reflect, absorb or scatter enough light for the devices. Moreover, they require labeling, and for this, researchers must know the basic parameters of nanoparticles.
Instead, the new system allows observers to detect a transparent object up to 25 nanometers in size by tracking the transmission of light through a glass slide coated with a gold nanodisc. By observing changes in illumination, they can also detect nearby nanoparticles.
“We didn’t experiment further than 25 nanometer particles. This is the smallest particle of polystyrene on the market, so perhaps our technique is capable of more, ”the researchers noted.