Skip to Content

Life Left in Light

Light microscopes make a comeback.

Light microscopes have had a basic limitation: they couldn’t image objects smaller than half the wavelength of light itself, leaving cellular machines like mitochondria a blur. But electron microscopes work only on dead cells. A new generation of light microscopes has broken the resolution barrier and could revolutionize biology by letting scientists glimpse the molecular workings of living cells. Click here for four of the most promising examples.

Multimedia

  • Here are four examples of images taken with new light microscopes.

This image of two cells preparing to divide was made by illuminating the cells with stripes of light called an interference pattern. The red clusters are DNA, and the green fibers are structural proteins that will help separate the cells.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.