The nanoscale images are obtained without electron beam damage to the sample and multiple images of the sample can be obtained for observation of sample dynamics.
Cathodoluminescence (CL) is used for nanoscale imaging by detecting the light generated in the sample by the application of an electron beam. Direct CL has also been used to image biological samples, but typically causes damage to the sample and can result in poor imaging quality. Methods which incorporate inorganic cathodoluminescent nanoparticle labels into a biological sample result in less sample damage, but imaging with nanoparticle labels requires the electron beam to penetrate into the sample, which precludes repeated measurements or observations of dynamics.
A UC Berkeley researcher has developed an optical imaging system and method for producing nanoscale images with high resolution, images of fragile samples without damaging the samples and that can be used for repeated imaging of a sample which allows observation of sample dynamics.