nanoRIP is a novel technique for nanoscopy that will provide an isotropic resolution of 80 nm by exploiting the scattering of light between organelles inside the cellular structure. Through innovative instrumentation and computational algorithms, this information is used to estimate the 3D refractive index of the sample, setting a new paradigm in nanoscopy.
Microscopy is a rich field, filled with techniques developed to break the resolution limit imposed by the diffraction of light. In the case of live-cell – where an Electron microscope is not an option because of power and imaging conditions – this theoretical limit is around 200 nm for regular light microscopy. While this is enough for studying the behavior of a cell at a macro scale, it doesn’t allow the proper study of the dynamics of its organelles. In this context, several techniques have been developed to surpass this limitation. An important example is fluorescence nanoscopy where the samples are stained with dye molecules or labels, attached to specific structures of interest in the sample. This, combined with fluorescence nanoscopy techniques based on photochemistry of dyes and computational algorithms to exploit them, has allowed to break the resolution limit and achieve resolutions smaller than 100 nm. However, the process of staining is invasive and toxic. Alternatives are Raman imaging, which is label-free but highly phototoxic, and label-free nanoscopy which is neither invasive nor toxic, but with a best resolution of 100 nm.
If we consider these limiting factors, nanoRIP is label-free, photochemical toxicity free and minimally invasive; but most importantly, it achieves all this while providing super-resolution of 70 nm in 3D. This will lead to unprecedented discoveries in several fields of life sciences.
We created a video for the DLN 2020 conference where the project’s idea is explained in simple words.