electron microscope images

Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under a magnification of 25,000X, this digitally-colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicts numerous filamentous Ebola virus particles (blue) budding from a chronically-infected VERO E6 cell (yellow-green).

Ebola is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. When infection occurs, symptoms usually begin abruptly. The first Ebolavirus species was discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically. See the Flickr link for additional SEM NIAID Ebola virus imagery.

Butterfly eggs on a raspberry plant
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A micro-crack in steel
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Household dust
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Needle and thread
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E.coli bacteria on lettuce

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Beard hairs under a scanning electron microscope: cut with razor (left) and electric shaver (right)
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A moth wing
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Leaf of a Virginia spiderwort
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Shark skin

Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), this digitally-colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image of a dry-fractured Vero cell revealed its contents, and the ultrastructural details at the site of an opened vacuole, inside of which you can see numerous Coxiella burnetii bacteria undergoing rapid replication. Please see the Flickr link below for additional NIAID photomicrographs of various microbes.

Infection of humans by Coxiella burnetii bacteria usually occurs by inhalation of these organisms from air that contains airborne barnyard dust contaminated by dried placental material, birth fluids, and excreta of infected animals. Other modes of transmission to humans, including tick bites, ingestion of unpasteurized milk or dairy products, and human to human transmission, are rare. Humans are often very susceptible to the disease, and very few organisms may be required to cause infection.

Copyright Restrictions: None - This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions. As a matter of courtesy we request that the content provider be credited and notified in any public or private usage of this image.


Koalas Have Human Like Finger Prints

Standard ink fingerprints of an adult male koala (left) and adult male human (right). Bottom row: Scanning electron microscope images of epidermis covering fingertips of the same koala (left) and the same human (right). 

Source: Macie Hennenberg, et al. and naturalSCIENCE


Getting stem cells to turn into bone cells is all about the microenvironment - the network of proteins and polymers that surround the cells. Scientists studying this differentiation create artificial microenvironments with a jelly-like material called hydrogel. 

Scientists are constantly tweaking hydrogels – changing their stiffness and viscosity to make them better scaffolds for bone growth. The latest version, seen in these scanning electron microscope images, gets one step closer to recreating the microenvironment around bone fractures. (You can read all about it in the December issue of Nature Materials). The researchers hope to test the hydrogel in living bone to see if it promotes bone healing.

Image Credit: Harvard SEAS/Wyss Institute

Nanoscopic Robots Build Parts For Tiny Electronics

by Michael Keller

Engineers looking to build electronic sensors and circuits so small they can’t be seen with the human eye may soon employ tiny helpers to do their work.

University of California, San Diego researchers have created two types of nanorobots that can swim over and burn patterns into ultraviolet light-sensitive surfaces. These controlled surface features are used to fabricate electronics components that measure a fraction of a human hair.

The self-propelled, chemically powered robots that are guided by magnetic fields could be valuable in the constant drive to make electronics for wearable tech and other applications smaller and smaller.

“All we need is these self-propelled nanorobots and UV light,” said engineering doctoral student Jinxing Li. “They work together like minions, moving and writing and are easily controlled by a simple magnet.”

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It’s getting harder and harder for atoms to hide. In 2012, scientists for the first time saw the bonds that held atoms together in molecules using an atomic force microscope. And last year, microscopists revealed that they had used a quantum microscope to record the orbital in which a hydrogen atom’s electron flies around the nucleus.  

Now North Carolina State University scientists have figured out a way to correct tiny unwanted distortions during scanning transmission electron microscope (TEM) imaging.

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A Micro-Portrait Of Alternative Energy: Solar Cells Up Close

False-colored scanning electron microscope image of a thin film solar cell that converts sunlight directly into electricity.

The picture highlights a type of semiconducting material–copper indium gallium diselenide, or CIGS–that is very efficient at absorbing solar radiation. Better absorption means the material can be layered on sheets of plastic or glass to make thin, flexible and more durable photovoltaic cells. In late September, researchers at Germany's Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research achieved a new CIGS solar-to-electric conversion efficiency world record of 21.7 percent, expanding the semiconductor’s lead over multicrystalline photovoltaic cells.

The horizontal width of the image is 320 microns. 

Image courtesy of Eberhardt Josué Friedrich Kernahan and Enrique Rodríguez Cañas, Wellcome Images. 

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