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High-powered microscope can scan cells without destroying them

The instrument is dramatically faster and its laser is less destructive.
PA Archive/PA Images

Confocal microscopes are pretty wild. The instruments can capture cell division in realtime, but the downside is the lasers in existing ones tend to fry the cells they're studying. Researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology may have found a way around that, though. explains that professors Du Shenwang and Michael Loy have developed a microscope that's "1,000 times less photo-toxic" than what's available currently.

The laser used on previous 'scopes was a million times the strength of summer sunlight, says, which had a fatal effect on cells. Kind of like if you'd spent too much time staring at the eclipse today without protective eyewear.

In addition to being around 1,000 times faster than previous models, Shenwang said that this could grant scientists the ability to see how certain diseases are formed at the cellular level. This has been your confocal microscope update for the day.

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