University of Manchester researcher, Dr Thomas Waigh, has developed a technology that may make living cells and tissues more visible during analysis through the addition of graphene oxide (GO). The use of a GO GO coating to microscopy slides was found to improve both fluorescence imaging contrast and resolution.

University of Manchester researcher develops GO coating that makes living cells and tissues more visible

Dr Waigh said: “My team has developed technology which uses monomolecular sheets of GO to coat microscopy slides, thereby eliminating background fluorescence and improving the resolution of images”. "It’s an important breakthrough as GO is cheap and easy to manufacture in large quantities. The cost to coat each slide is estimated to be 12 pence".

The GO coatings are reportedly biocompatible and remove background fluorescence from non-specifically bound dyes such as in live cell imaging. They can also be manufactured to cover different shapes and sizes of slides.

Other applications include imaging auto-fluorescent proteins to remove background fluorescence and lining of flow cells in flow cytometry to reduce background signal from non-specific dye binding.

Dr Waigh added: “The GO layer is followed by a polymer coating to adjust the distance between the GO and the sample. The GO quenches fluorescence for any non-specifically bound dye while the polymer layer allows the stained or labelled sample to fluoresce. The quenching of non-specifically bound fluorophores means the GO coated slides are able to eliminate background fluorescence. This technology therefore greatly enhances the contrast and resolution of the microscopy images. The GO layer has already been tested with a range of regularly used fluorescent stains and calculations show that it will work for all dyes.”

The University of Manchester’s technology transfer office, UMI3 Ltd, is seeking to license or assign the technology to microscopy equipment manufacturers, companies working in fluorescence microscopy, life sciences diagnostics companies, scientific instrument manufacturers and optical slide manufacturers.