Micro- and nano-level microscopy, whether used in
academic laboratories or industry, is susceptible to vibrations from the
environment, requiring these instruments to employ vibration isolation systems.
When measuring a very few angstroms, nanometers, or microns of displacement, an
absolutely stable surface must be maintained to support the instrument. Any
vibrations that are transferred into the mechanical structure of the instrument
will cause vertical and horizontal noise, compromising data sets and limiting
the ability to measure high resolution features.
tables have been the isolators used for microscopy equipment. The ubiquitous
passive-system air tables, adequate up until a decade ago, are now being
seriously challenged by the need for more refined imaging requirements. Air
systems provide limited isolation vertically and very little isolation
horizontally. Yet, high-resolution microscopy demands vibration isolation
requirements that are unparalleled in both the vertical and horizontal axes.
This has posed a significant challenge for many researchers.
FOR LEARNING AND MEMORY
Such was the case with the Center for Learning
and Memory (CLM), part of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of
Texas at Austin, a multi-disciplinary group studying the mechanisms governing
the processes of learning and memory in animals.
Research in one of the
CLM laboratories is primarily directed to understanding the cellular and
molecular mechanisms of synaptic integration and long-term plasticity of
neurons in the animal medial temporal lobe. The lab focuses attention on the
hippocampus, subiculum, and prefrontal cortex areas of the brain that play
important roles in learning and memory. These regions are also of interest
because they have a low seizure threshold and are implicated in several forms
of human epilepsy
Neurons are electrically excitable cells that process
and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals in a process
known as neurotransmission, also called synaptic transmission. The fundamental
process that triggers the release of neurotransmitters is the action potential,
a propagating electrical signal that is generated by exploiting the
electrically excitable membrane of the neuron.
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