If you'd just won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, no-one would blame you if you took a quick trip to Disneyland, or at least a few days to catch up on Orange is the New Black. Eric Betzig, however, had other plans, since shortly after he was told he was receiving the accolade for revolutionizing the world of microscopy, he was ready to do it all over again. Put (very) simply, his first achievement, PALM, was a microscope capable of observing cellular interactions in unprecedented detail. The downside to the technique, however, was that it couldn't take shots of fast-moving cells, produced images with a halo around them and the light used to take the pictures was toxic to the cells being studied.
That's why this new technology is so exciting, at least if you're a molecular biologist. The new lattice sheet microscope shoots high-res pictures of biological processes so quickly that fast-moving cells can be seen in 3D for the first time. The hardware is even able to produce video clips of biological processes, like the growth of a HeLa cell that you can catch in the footage embedded below. If you're a scientist with an interest in such processes, Betzig has already built a second device at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that you can use, free of charge, and will even share the design with you if you want to build one of your very own. Gosh, will someone just give him a second Nobel Prize already?
[Image / Video Credit: Betzig Lab, HHMI/Janelia Research Campus, Mimori-Kiyosue Lab, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology]