Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Add in wavelength variation and see super detail with hyperspectral imaging

23 March 2020

To See Hue

We see colours as a mixture of red, blue and green, but other creatures like the mantis shrimp have hyperspectral vision – able to distinguish many more hues from a continuous rainbow or spectrum. This sensitivity has inspired the world of microscopy – with hyperspectral imaging now able to distinguish subtly-different wavelengths of light in cells and tissues labelled with fluorescent proteins. Here, new software, called SEER, spots such spectral 'fingerprints' from cells in this zebrafish, so they can be analysed further, or highlighted in different colours in this movie – so our relatively primitive eyes can see the distinction. Hyperspectral imaging, coupled with clever analysis techniques, may go on to detect previously hidden details in human tissues – such as subtle changes in early tumours growing among healthy cells.

Written by John Ankers

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