Scientists devise ‘glowscope’ to bring fluorescent microscopy to schools

Source: The post is based on the article Scientists devise ‘glowscope’ to bring fluorescent microscopy to schoolspublished in The Hindu on 13th March 2023.

What is the News?

Researchers at Winona State University, USA have created a design for a rudimentary Fluorescence Microscope.

What is Fluorescence Microscopy?

An optical microscope views an object by studying how it absorbs, reflects or scatters visible light. 

A fluorescence microscope views an object by studying how it re-emits light that it has absorbed, i.e. how it fluoresces. This is its basic principle.

The object is illuminated with light of a specific wavelength. Particles in the object absorb this light and re-emit it at a higher wavelength (i.e. different colour). These particles are called fluorophores; the object is infused with them before being placed under the microscope.

Uses: Fluorescent microscopy is often used to image specific features of small specimens such as microbes. It is also used to visually enhance 3-D features at small scales.

What have the researchers developed?

Researchers have developed a rudimentary fluorescence microscope that they say can be put together at a cost of $30- $50 (₹2,500­-₹4,100).

With this fluorescence microscope, researchers were able to image the creatures’ brain, spinal cord (using a fluorophore called DsRed), heart (mCherry), and head and jaw bones (mRFP). 

Significance of this development: Many individuals in India may not be able to afford this microscope, but schools and colleges can.

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