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Modern nanomaterials contain complexity that spans all three dimensions—from multigate semiconductors to clean energy nanocatalysts to complex block copolymers. For nanoscale characterization, it has been a long-standing goal to observe and quantify the three-dimensional (3D) structure—not just surfaces, but the entire internal volume and the chemical arrangement. Electron tomography estimates the complete 3D structure of nanomaterials from a series of two-dimensional projections taken across many viewing angles. Since its first introduction in 1968, electron tomography has progressed substantially in resolution, dose, and chemical sensitivity. In particular, scanning transmission electron microscope tomography has greatly enhanced the study of 3D nanomaterials by providing quantifiable internal morphology and spectroscopic detection of elements. Combined with recent innovations in computational reconstruction algorithms and 3D visualization tools, scientists can interactively dissect volumetric representations and extract meaningful statistics of specimens. This article highlights the maturing field of electron tomography and the widening scientific applications that utilize 3D structural, chemical, and functional imaging at the nanometer and subnanometer length scales.
Electron microscopy is uniquely suited for atomic-resolution imaging of heterogeneous and complex materials, where composition, physical, and electronic structure need to be analyzed simultaneously. Historically, the technique has demonstrated optimal performance at room temperature, since practical aspects such as vibration, drift, and contamination limit exploration at extreme temperature regimes. Conversely, quantum materials that exhibit exotic physical properties directly tied to the quantum mechanical nature of electrons are best studied (and often only exist) at extremely low temperatures. As a result, emergent phenomena, such as superconductivity, are typically studied using scanning probe-based techniques that can provide exquisite structural and electronic characterization, but are necessarily limited to surfaces. In this article, we focus not on the various methods that have been used to examine quantum materials at extremely low temperatures, but on what could be accomplished in the field of quantum materials if the power of electron microscopy to provide structural analysis at the atomic scale was extended to extremely low temperatures.
Psilocybin is a serotonin receptor agonist with a therapeutic potential for treatment-resistant depression and other psychiatric illnesses. We investigated whether the administration of psilocybin had an antidepressant-like effect in a rat model of depression.
Using the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) rat model of depression, we assessed the antidepressant-like effect of psilocin and psilocybin, measured as a reduction in immobility time in the forced swim test (FST). We measured locomotor activity in an open field test (OFT) to control for stimulant properties of the drugs. We performed a set of experiments to test different doses, treatment paradigms, and timing of the tests in relation to the drug administration.
Psilocin and psilocybin showed no effect on immobility, struggling, or swimming behaviour in the FST and no effect on locomotor activity in the OFT. FSL rats did show significantly more immobility than their control strain, the Flinders Resistant Line, as expected.
Psilocin and psilocybin showed no antidepressant-like effect in the FSL rats, despite a positive effect in humans. This suggests that other animal models of depression and other behavioural tests may be more appropriate for translational studies in the effects of psilocybin.