Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have created a smartphone ultra-zoom solution that allows scientists in the field to image and size DNA. The tool, which uses a little 3D-printed box that acts as a high-resolution microscope, can be used to see objects as small as two nanometers in width.
“For perspective, that makes DNA about 50,000 times thinner than a human hair,” said Aydogan Ozcan, the UCLA professor involved in the project. “Currently, imaging single DNA molecules requires bulky, expensive optical microscopy tools, which are mostly confined to advanced laboratory settings. In comparison, the components for my device are significantly less expensive.”
From the release:
Considering current methods require non-portable heavy machinery and computers, this seems like a godsend for researchers in the field. The team is currently using the tool to “detect the presence of malaria-related drug resistance.”