A team of students and scientists hailing from the University of Sheffield has fabricated and built a cheaper specialist microscope and helped make the equipment available to multiple labs globally by sharing the blueprint.
The microscope, named as smfBox, carries the potential of single-molecule measurements, thereby allowing scientists to concentrate on one molecule at a time instead of producing an average outcome from commercially available instruments as well as bulk works and samples. The single-molecule method is known to be available only in a few specialist laboratories throughout the world, mainly because of the cost factor of commercially available microscopes.
The team has published a research paper in order to provide all the software and building instructions required to run this specialist microscope, as well as to help make this method accessible to various labs all around the world. The Central Laser Facility of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the interdisciplinary team from the University of Sheffield’s Departments of Physics and Chemistry spent approximately 40,000 pounds just to build a kit that would cost around 400,000 pounds to buy.
The microscope framework is based on simplicity to make it easier for the researchers to use it with little training. In addition to that, the lasers have been shielded properly so that it can be used in standard lighting conditions. According to the lead author of the study, the single-use molecule measurements are democratized in order to make the method available to multiple labs across the world. The research study made it possible to come up with the software as well as the blueprint to build a specialist microscope at a very affordable cost instead of spending millions behind it.
With numerous medical diagnostics moving towards an increased sensitivity level, the precise detection of single molecules comes off as the most sensitive work. Moreover, multiple COVID tests have been currently undergoing development work for this. This instrument would provide a good kick start to the further advancement towards medical diagnostics as well as boost the growth of the digital microscope market immensely.
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