Researchers at the University of Rochester have created the highest resolution optical image ever, revealing structures as small as carbon nanotubes just a few billionths of an inch across. The new method should open the door to previously inaccessible chemical and structural information in samples as small as the proteins embedded in a cell’s membrane. The research appears in today’s issue of Physical Review Letters.
Within the smoothly operating factory that is the cell, tiny molecular machines carry out their tasks with order and certainty. Or at least that’s what many scientists once believed. In a recent issue of Science, researchers report the first demonstration that bacterial cells intrinsically possess a significant degree of randomness or “noise.” More precisely, they show that key “gene-reading” machines may operate unpredictably, resulting in randomly fluctuating amounts of individual proteins.