Coherent anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy, or CARS for short, already is a proven and powerful technology for peering into cells to observe lipids, proteins and DNA. Carey Johnson aims to simplify the tool and make its use faster and more economical.
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Researchers refine a powerful laser microscope for biomedical use. From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I’m Brendan Lynch.
Coherent anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy, or CARS for short, already is a proven and powerful technology for peering into cells to observe lipids, proteins and DNA. Carey Johnson, professor of chemistry, aims to simplify the tool and make its use faster and more economical.
Johnson: CARS has been around for a long time, but its been developed based on $300,000 laser systems that take up large optical tables. It’s not a very usable method of microscopy for everyday clinical use &mdash it requires a very specialized lab and a system that’s not portable.
The simplified CARS system that Johnson is developing with Rongqing Hui, (RON WEE) KU professor of electrical engineering and computer science, is based upon a single fiber laser and could fit inside a shoebox.
Johnson: This laser source would be much smaller, and much less expensive than the kinds of laser sources being used now for this kind of laser microscopy. We hope to make it much more accessible.
Dubbed FLEX CARS, the technology could usher in low-cost CARS microscopy and put the cutting-edge tool into the hands of more clinicians and researchers.
“It’s important because we can look at the cells as they are,” said Johnson. “We don’t have to treat them with a dye, or a stain or some kind of label that would make them fluoresce. Currently, one has to go through extra steps to have cells genetically make something that fluoresces. This method avoids that.”
For more on FLEX CARS, log onto Research Matters dot KU dot EDU. For the University of Kansas, I’m Brendan Lynch.
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Researchers refine a powerful laser microscope for biomedical use