Apr 21, 2019 | Updated: 02:21 PM EDT

Scientists Create New Automated Microscopes That Work Million Times Faster Than a Human Microscope Operator

Apr 10, 2019 04:38 PM EDT

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Scientists Create New Automated Microscopes That Work Million Times Faster Than a Human Microscope Operator
(Photo : Image by kermy from Pixabay)

Researchers from the National Institute for Nuclear Physics, INFN, Naples, Italy, and their counterparts from the National University of Science and Technology, MISIS, Moscow, Russia, have created a cost-effective and uncomplicated technology that have the potential of increasing the speed of the automated microscopes (AM) by 10 to 100 times.

The speed growth of the microscope will assist the scientists in several fields such as astrophysics, medicine, neutrino physics, nuclear physics, archaeology, and volcanology. The Scientific Reports journal of the Nature publishing house published the development of the research.

One of the authors, Andrey Alexandrov who is a researcher from NUST MISIS and INFN said that they tested the technology that completely automated optical scanning of thin samples in their study, on which they will base the new generation of automated microscopes.

It now mandatory for modern science to utilize the high-speed scanning systems that are capable of conducting a high-precision analysis of the samples internal structure and analyzing and obtaining a large amount of information.

Such systems of the new generation are the AM, with equipment of high-quality optics, high-precision mechanics, and high-speed video camera. AM performs million times faster than a human microscope operator and can work 24 hours without getting tired.

The works of the modern AMs are for optical scanning of emulsion track detectors. Millions of emulsion films are in the multi-tone detectors. Due to the limit of the applicability of sensors to the speed of AM, scientists are searching for means of making the current robots faster, as well as to create new and much faster generations.

In an experiment to search for a darker matter, such microscopes will be indispensable since it will be necessary to analyze tens of tons of nano-emulsion trackers with unprecedented accuracy in the shortest possible time.

Alenxandov also added that it is possible for AM to recognize objects in real time and independently decide it intends processing their images or move on to another point through the machine vision technology.

The current parallel computing technology CUDA and the GPU video cards are active, and they are used to process a large (~2 GB/s from each video camera) image stream and accelerated intensive computing. Also, they implemented the technology of the lens focal plane rotation.

The scientists also claimed that the accuracy and efficiency of this approach turned out to be comparable with the traditional methods, with the speed of the scanner being proportional to the number of the cameras installed, which indicates significant progress.

The next step for the scientist is the intention of creating and testing a new generation working prototype through the technology of focal plane rotation that they implemented. When the speed of such microscopes increased the processing data significantly in 10 to 100, it will reduce the time of their analysis without large financial expenditures, and expand the limits of applicability of the emulsion track detector method.

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