Source: Taiwantrade | Updated: 17 October 2012
The research team, headed by Yen Ta-jen, a professor of materials science and engineering at the university, has developed "metamaterials" that can be used for intracellular imaging without damaging or killing living cells, the university announced recently.
Equipment does exist that can get images while maintaining the cells' integrity, but the process is expensive, and the resolution delivered by these instruments has been less than ideal, Yen said.
Yen and his students Lai Yueh-chun, Lee Hsin-cheng and Chen Cheng-kuang fabricated metamaterials out of regular metal and endowed them with the ability to act as high-performance microscopes in observing cells.
What they ended up with can mirror every intracellular element of a stem cell, just as mirrors enable people to see themselves, and it should be much less expensive than currently used approaches or instruments, Chen said.
The team used the lithography process widely used in the semiconductor industry to make their breakthrough metamaterials, a process that is not expensive in Taiwan. The study was published in the influential journal Advanced Materials on June 19, 2012.