The virus that causes COVID-19 is just 120 nanometers in size.
When developing new drugs, it's important to analyze the metastasis and infection process of viruses and to observe them in real time.
Until now, virus observation has only been possible for dead samples that have been fixed and stabilized through cryogenic electron microscopy.
But Korean researchers have succeeded in real-time observation of living microscopic biomaterials using graphene to coat cells for use in electron microscopes.
"Using this technology, we can directly observe how cells combine with other viruses or cells or see how various images change in real time."
The researchers covered cells in graphene, which is 200 times stronger than steel, has high electrical conductivity and does not permeate substances.
They found that covering cells with a point-two-nanometer-thick graphene shield prevents changes in the cell's structure caused by dehydration and cell damage caused by electron beams in the high-vacuum electron microscopes.
"It can observe a variety of biomass samples such as smaller proteins, DNA and viruses, so we can expect to be able to identify the mechanisms of a range of life phenomena."
The findings were published in the online journal Nano Letters.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.