For the first time, scientists can directly image cells in their native wet environment with a standard scanning electron microscope (SEM), thanks to new technology introduced by QuantomiX.
Applying recent advances in nanotechnology, QuantomiX has developed the QX-capsule, which uses an ultra thin membrane that is transparent to an electron beam but impervious to water and sufficiently strong to resist a 1-atmosphere pressure difference. The capsule is used as a culture dish to separate the wet specimens from the SEM vacuum. It enables researchers to directly image unstained, unfixed cells and tissues, including the imaging of entire cell membranes and internal structures with any SEM.
"We are happy to introduce cell biologists to an affordable, easy-to-use device that combines the convenience of light microscopy with a resolution that until now characterized only electron microscopy," said Ory Zik, Ph.D., QuantomiX's chief executive officer. "Previously, all biological and other water-containing samples had to be fixed and dehydrated before they could be introduced to the vacuum inside the microscope viewing chamber, making it impossible to image such wet samples directly with an SEM."
Dr. Zik continued, "One of the challenges we faced was how to turn such a technological advancement into a useful and affordable product. Our single-use device, fits existing electron microscopes but transforms their capabilities, giving cell biologists and pharmaceutical researchers entirely new research capabilities. For example, QuantomiX collaborators have gained a unique advantage for imaging the size and distribution cellular lipids in research aimed at improving the diagnosis and management of diseases such as obesity and diabetes."