A two-photon microscopic image of a neuron fluoresced with red dye

18 May 2012

Brain Mechanism for Behavior Unit researchers are interested in the basic units of which our brains are composed - so called nerve cells or neurons. Since these cells have a diameter of only about 10 microns (.01 mm), scientists have developed highly sophisticated microscopy techniques to observe their activity. When special fluorescent dyes are injected into a living tissue, the neurons not only get labeled and so visible when excited by light of the right wavelength, but the activity of the labeled neurons also changes the fluorescence of the dye molecules. As a result, the neuronal activity is transformed into an optical signal.

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