Press Releases > Real-time Volumetric IR Absorption Nanoscope for in situ Study of Plant/Microbe Interaction and Metabolism

Real-time Volumetric IR Absorption Nanoscope for in situ Study of Plant/Microbe Interaction and Metabolism

Press Release

Press Release

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a research program from the Department of Energy to develop a turn-key, portable, living cell volumetric spectro-microscopic imager that will provide in vivo, time-resolved three-dimensional infrared absorption (chemical) and visible (structural) imaging, with nanoscale lateral and axial spatial resolutions in both modalities.

Plant biologists currently lack viable, non-destructive, high-resolution microscopic imaging tools that are necessary for investigating the real-time metabolism and biochemistry of plant and microbial cells. Existing methods are typically invasive and destructive, and require large and heavy instrumentation or access to national user facilities. Such instruments cannot be readily deployed in either public or private research settings, and are thus not accessible to the larger scientific community. This severely limits the understanding of complex plant and microbial sub-cellular processes, critical to the development of bioenergy and biofuels.

PSI’s solution – a 5D infrared nanoscope – is based on a novel technique where localized transient photothermal changes in a specimen, induced by chemically-specific infrared absorption, are probed with exquisite sensitivity using visible-light digital holographic microscopy. The instrument’s compact form factor and user extensibility will enable its wide-scale deployment in the scientific community and provide researchers with the ability to visualize and understand complex inter- and intracellular biochemistries and interactions in living plant and microbial cells in the time domain.

The imager will introduce a currently non-existent capability to the scientific community; a time-resolved volumetric infrared spectro-microscopic imaging capability for plant biology research in government, commercial and academic sectors, directly benefiting and facilitating the advancement of bioenergy and biofuel development. The imager is also applicable to the wider array of life science, materials and biomedical research. Applications include development of therapeutics and drug discovery.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Julia Dupuis
Vice President, Tactical Systems
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003