Nanoparticles pinpoint brain activity

January 17, 2006 | Source:

Scientists could be a step closer to unraveling the mysteries of human memory thanks to a nanoparticle-based imaging technique developed at Bordeaux University. The team is observing how biomolecules change position within a cultured rat synapse, the junction between nerve cells, by labeling the biomolecules with tiny gold particles.

the Bordeaux technique involves the use of two lasers. The first, a time-modulated laser (532 nm) is used to heat the nanoparticle. The second, a HeNe laser (633 nm) aimed at the sample and coupled to a fast photodiode detector, tracks the position of the nano-object by locking on to the characteristic beat frequency in the reflected signal.