Primers and PrimeViews

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  • This PrimeView highlights the best practices for using Raman microspectroscopy to study microorganisms, with a focus on enhancing reproducibility and data sharing.

  • Raman microspectroscopy is a non-destructive analysis technique for assessing the chemical composition of live microorganisms. This Primer examines the adaptation of Raman microspectroscopy for microbiology, outlining potential applications and technical limitations. The authors describe a new database for sharing Raman spectral data to enhance reproducibility.

    • Kang Soo Lee
    • Zachary Landry
    • Roman Stocker
  • This PrimeView highlights the use of powder diffraction to characterise crystalline structures.

  • Material characterization by powder diffraction gives quantitative and qualitative insights into the phases present in a specimen. This Primer describes the key considerations during powder diffraction analysis, from data collection and specimen preparation to phase identification and structure solution.

    • James A. Kaduk
    • Simon J. L. Billinge
    • Daniel Chateigner
  • This PrimeView on 3D extrusion bioprinting accompanies the Primer by Zhang et al. and highlights the main stages of the 3D extrusion bioprinting process.

  • 3D extrusion bioprinting methods can be used to produce tissue constructs in vitro and in situ and are arguably the most commonly used bioprinting strategies. In this Primer, Zhang and colleagues describe the variants of 3D extrusion bioprinting methods and their specific applications, considerations for the formulation of bioinks and strategies for assessing print quality. The authors conclude by looking to recent and upcoming developments in 4D printing and artificial intelligence-assisted dynamic printing strategies.

    • Yu Shrike Zhang
    • Ghazaleh Haghiashtiani
    • Jos Malda
  • This PrimeView describes the best practices for using light sheet fluorescence microscopy to image a range of sample types, with a special focus on light sheet properties and image detection.

  • Light sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) is a technique that uses a thin sheet of light for illumination, allowing optical sectioning of the sample. In this Primer, Stelzer et al. outline the fundamental concepts behind LSFM, discuss the different experimental set-ups for light sheet microscopes and detail steps for processing LSFM images. The Primer also describes the range of applications for this technique across the biological sciences and concludes by discussing advances for enhancing imaging depth and resolution.

    • Ernst H. K. Stelzer
    • Frederic Strobl
    • Reto Fiolka
  • Optically stimulated luminescence dating uses the amount of energy stored in a crystal to measure time. Applying this technique to quartz enables sedimentary deposition processes to be derived. In this Primer, the technique of optically stimulated luminescence dating with quartz is introduced, including commonly used methods, limitations and applications.

    • Andrew Murray
    • Lee J. Arnold
    • Kristina J. Thomsen
  • This PrimeView on adaptive optics highlights the general experimental setup of this technique that corrects image imperfections in astronomy, vision science and microscopy.

  • This Primer provides an overview of the general principles of adaptive optics and explores the different ways in which adaptive optics can correct optical aberrations for high-resolution imaging in the fields of astronomy, vision science and microscopy.

    • Karen M. Hampson
    • Raphaël Turcotte
    • Martin J. Booth
  • This PrimeView on small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering accompanies the Primer by Jeffries et al. and highlights the general experimental setup of this technique probeing the structural organisation of matter.

  • Small-angle scattering can reveal the structural organization of bulk materials and materials at surfaces and quantify their response to changes in external conditions. This Primer provides an overview of small-angle scattering using both X-rays and neutrons, and includes instrumentation, data collection and the type of structural information gathered in various applications.

    • Cy M. Jeffries
    • Jan Ilavsky
    • Dmitri I. Svergun
  • Electrolyte-gated transistors (EGTs) are fundamental building blocks of bioelectronics, which transduce biological inputs to electrical signals. This Primer examines the different architectures of EGTs, their mechanism of operation and practical considerations related to their wide range of applications.

    • Fabrizio Torricelli
    • Demetra Z. Adrahtas
    • Luisa Torsi
  • Atomic force microscopy-based force spectroscopy can probe the strength and dynamics of cell adhesion to understand how physical forces influence cellular function, physiology and disease. Here, Dufrêne and colleagues discuss the ability of this technology to work as an ultra-sensitive force sensor to study the adhesion and elasticity of complex biological systems including viruses, bacteria, yeasts and mammalian cells.

    • Albertus Viljoen
    • Marion Mathelié-Guinlet
    • Yves F. Dufrêne
  • This PrimeView highlights the best practices for radiocarbon dating of various sample types. Improvements in sensitivity and accuracy allow for dating of rare and precious samples.

  • Radiocarbon dating is a common and reliable tool for measuring the age of a range of objects, from trees to historical artefacts and human remains. Hajdas et al. outline best practices for selecting and processing samples, as well as obtaining accurate measurements and age ranges. Ethical considerations for rare and culturally valuable materials are discussed.

    • Irka Hajdas
    • Philippa Ascough
    • Minoru Yoneda