Easy on the Eyes

July 11, 2006 at 11:50 am | | cool results

I work with fluorescent proteins. Can you tell which FPLC fraction contains my sample? Not only can you see the purple fraction of victory, but the ones that follow are a little green with an immature form of the protein. See Figure 1.


Figure 1. Sweet jesus, that’s some good ‘tein.

three lasers

June 6, 2006 at 3:28 pm | | cool results, everyday science, hardware

In an older post, I talked about aligning multiple lasers on my setup. Now I have a cool picture of all of them (I used a little liquid nitrogen for scattering):


Those are lasers at 488, 532, and 633 nm.

dual-color viewer

May 30, 2006 at 9:06 pm | | cool results, everyday science, hardware, single molecules, software, tutorial

How do you turn your grayscale CCD to a two-color camera? Filters and fun! Here’s a diagram looking down at the dual-viewer setup on my table:

Figure 1. Diagram of setup (viewed from above)

M1 and M2 are mirrors, F1 and F2 are long- or short-pass filters, and DC1 and DC2 are identical dichroics. DC1 reflects short wavelengths and pass long wavelengths, the filters clean up the two paths, the mirrors bring the paths back together, and DC2 combines the two channels. If the channels are offset a little, then short and long wavelengths are split into two copies of the image onto the CCD.
Here’s a pic of the setup:

Figure 2. Picture of the setup with channels drawn

In other words, the dichroics split the green light off the output and move it to a different region of the CCD. You can recombine the two copies and add color using ImageJ, like this:

Figure 3. The right side is an overlay of the red and green channels in false color

single molecules with a digital camera!

April 19, 2006 at 4:58 pm | | cool results, everyday science, hardware, single molecules

These are single fluorescent molecules imaged using a microscope and a hand-held consumer digital SLR camera (i.e. Nikon D90):


I think that’s pretty impressive. Usually, we use expensive, cooled CCD cameras which are very sensitive and designed for scientific imaging. Here, I used a (cheaper) conventional digital camera and even got a color image. This is possible in part because this fluorophore (one of the Moerner/Twieg labs’ DCDHF dyes) is super bright and long-lived!

3-d surface

April 11, 2006 at 4:31 pm | | cool results, everyday science, single molecules, software

A fellow labmember showed me how to use MatLab to make a 3-dimensional surface from an image of single fluorescent molecules, where z is the intensity. Here’s a taste. I converted this:

into this:

The funny thing is that the pretty image is only that: it actually contains less information than the 2-d grayscale image, becuase it needed smoothing and convolving with Gaussians to make it look so nice. But that kinda shit brings in the big $$.

Raving with Acrylic teef?

March 29, 2006 at 2:28 pm | | cool results, nerd


The consequences of snowboarding continue. As shown in Figure 1, it looks like acrylic behaves more like water than delicious tonic water under UV light. It’s too bad. I prefer homogenous teef.


Figure 1. Inhomogenous teef.

I am practicing several dance moves enriched with head shaking to minimize teef exposure, as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2. The Cobra: a popular dance routine.

orbecular candy?

March 27, 2006 at 2:35 pm | | cool results, everyday science, software

Doesn’t this look like some kind of molecular lolly-pop material candy?
So I don’t really get any interesting info from this result, but Gaussian can really make some pretty pictures … that take a long time to make.

This is DCDHF-2V optimized using BLYP/6-31G(d). I’m displaying the HOMO orbitals.

freeze pics

March 23, 2006 at 7:14 pm | | cool results

I’m happy with these results because they are pretty. Here’s our favorite environmentally sensative fluorophores in liquid (left) and frozen (right) toluene:


And we have red dyes, too! Here’s a nice red one in ethanol:


They get so much brighter! There’re even cooler looking in real life: the digital camera doesn’t capture the colors as well. For instance, as the red solution thawed, there were beautiful purple veins of liquid solution throughout the “ice.”

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