Viruses are small. Very small. There are millions of types, and the 5,000 or so that have been studied in detail are typically between 10 and 300 nanometers (one-billionth of a meter) in diameter.
Because the wavelengths of visible light range from roughly 300 to 800 nanometers, viruses aren't exactly visible under normal lighting. Only optical fluoresce microscopes can see inside a virus, and then only indirectly, using dye, which cannot actually penetrate a virus.
So the "microsphere nanoscope" developed by scientists at the University of Manchester's School of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Civil Engineering in the U.K. and described in the journal Nature Communications is remarkable on two counts: It breaks the world record of direct imaging under normal lights by 20 times, viewing objects as small as 50 nm wide, and what's more, the tech behind it imposes no theoretical limit in the size of feature that can be seen.
This incredible jump in capacity could allow humans to see inside human cells and even live viruses for the first time, which in turn could give us many new insights into their structures and behaviors.… Read more