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Virtual Nanoscopy: The Ridiculously Zoomable Cell

Color us impressed! A team of researchers from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands created a method to ultrastructurally map regions of cells at nanometer resolution, which they called "virtual nanoscopy":

Our approach employs standard transmission electron microscopy, rapid automated data collection, and stitching to create large virtual slides. It greatly facilitates correlative light-electron microscopy studies to relate structure and function and provides a genuine representation of ultrastructural events. The method is scalable as illustrated by slides up to 281 gigapixels in size.

In a paper published in the Journal of Cell Biology (with the accompanying Editorial), the author Frank G.A. Faas, Bram Koster and colleagues stitched together 26,434 individual electron micrograph of a 5-day old zebrafish embryo to create a 281 gigapixel image that you can zoom ... and zoom and zoom in until you reach a final resolution of 1.6-nm per pixel.

Take a look for yourself: Link

I couldn't help but mutter "Enhance!" while I zoomed around the image:


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