Researchers have developed the knife-edge scanning microscope (KESM), which can slice, scan and map brains.

A research team at Texas A&M University’s Brain Networks Laboratory, led by Bruce McCormick, have developed a new machine that can automatically slice and scan a brain and assemble the images into a navigatable online atlas. This knife-edge scanning microscope (KESM) takes a piece of tissue and cuts it into 0.5mm-thick sections using a diamond knife. A laser on the knife’s edge lights up the tissue as it is sliced and the images are captured by a microscope.

Wired reports that the machine can scan and assemble 3D brain images automatically, taking around 100 hours to scan a complete mouse brain, and the resolution enables people to see the individual neurons within the brain slices.

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