Sooner or Laser


Ever tried to get inside someone’s head – literally?!?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Scientists learn a lot about OUR brains by studying animal brains. But you can’t see individual cells without poking tiny holes in their skulls! Yoiks! Is there a better solution?

Most microscopes rely on the small amount of light passing straight through an object. But when you shine a light on bone, tiny bits of light shoot in all directions. Groovy light show – but an impossible challenge for the microscopes we have!

Enter Seokchan Yoon and colleagues at Korea University. They’ve developed a new kind of imaging tool.

Yoon’s technology points a laser at the skull and collects the scattered light. Then it sorts out those light trajectories. With this innovation, the team got clear images of brain cells, even from deep within the brain — WITHOUT any hole-poking!

This could help neuroscientists do their research more quickly, safely, and accurately.

So scalpel-wielding scientists, don’t get a HEAD of yourselves. There’s a new laser in town!

Reference: Yoon, S., Lee, H., Hong, J.H. et al. Laser scanning reflection-matrix microscopy for aberration-free imaging through intact mouse skull. Nat Commun 11, 5721 (2020).