News


How investing in a niche market placed Yokogawa aboard the International Space Station

June 2020 News

While the world was abuzz with excitement over the revival of U.S. manned spaceflight, another equally promising space endeavour flew under the radar. On 20 May, the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-9), affectionately called “Kōnotori” or “white stork” in Japanese, was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. Its destination: Japanese experiment module “Kibō," the largest laboratory unit on the International Space Station (ISS).

The HTV-9 contained 6,2 metric tons of essential supplies and specialized experimental instruments, including a Yokogawa CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit (CSU). As a core component of Chiyoda Corporation’s COSMIC confocal microscope system, Yokogawa’s CSU will analyze the gravity response of living cells and their 3D structures. The ISS’s microgravity environment, cosmic radiation exposure, and isolated location in outer space combine to make it the optimal setting for this type of experiment.

Given that the ISS is the ideal platform for this research, Yokogawa’s CSU-W1 is the ideal tool. Chosen by Chiyoda Corp. for its wide field of view and high-resolution images, the CSU-W1 utilizes Yokogawa’s proprietary, high-speed dual spinning-disk technology to enhance performance and optimize scanning speed. The design consists of two coaxially aligned disks, each of which contains over 20 000 pinholes arranged in a series of nested Archimedean spirals. Fresnel micro lenses in the upper disk focus light onto the pinholes of the lower disk and direct it into the specimen, then a dichromatic mirror refines and reflects the resulting signal to the microscope’s camera.

Using this system of advanced beam shaping, the micro lenses gather laser light to increase the CSU’s throughput, allowing it to approach 40 to 60 percent – approximately 10 times greater than a traditional single spinning-disk confocal. A higher light throughput allows imaging of cells with very low levels of fluorescence. Compared to laser scanning and wide field fluorescence methods, the laser power necessary for scanning a sample is much lower. The significant reduction in fluorophore photo bleaching rates that results enables long-term observation of live cell cultures.

26 May marked the beginning of a new chapter in the field of life science. That day, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced HTV-9’s arrival at its destination and confirmed that COSMIC will be used in experiments beginning this fall. Advancing our knowledge of cells beyond the physical confines of our planet is essential to the determination of the effects of long-term space travel on the human body. It could even hold the key to discovering the origin of life on earth. Scientists aboard the ISS will use COSMIC and the CSU-W1 to support research that explores 3D bio fabrication of human organs in space. This could also provide valuable insight into the biological feasibility of colonizing other planets.

Here on earth, Yokogawa’s spinning-disk technology is used for research in drug discovery, biotechnology, neuroscience, and molecular biology, among other fields. With over 3 000 devices sold to date, the top-of-the-line CSU models have established Yokogawa’s presence in the global life sciences industry. By enabling researchers to observe the movement of proteins and physiological responses within living cells in real-time, the company’s CSUs have become indispensable tools in labs all over the world – and now, even beyond!


Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Emerson publishes 2019 Social Responsibility Report
July 2020, Emerson Automation Solutions , News
Emerson combines industry-leading technology and innovation to make a positive impact on employees, customers and communities around the world.

Read more...
The digital twin explained
July 2020, Yokogawa South Africa , IT in Manufacturing
Among numerous emerging technologies in the process industries today, the digital twin is one of the most powerful and disruptive because it constitutes a rich look at the past, present and future of ...

Read more...
FIRST Lego League goes from strength to strength
July 2020 , News
FIRST (for inspiration and recognition of science and technology) is an international organisation that aims to generate an interest in mathematics, science and technology through the use of robotics ...

Read more...
Aguru announces successful Safe-Trace Contact Tracing trial at Adcock Ingram Critical Care
July 2020 , News
Aguru Business Solutions (Aguru), a company specialising in automation and digital transformation advisory and project management services, has successfully completed a Proof of Concept (PoC) trial of ...

Read more...
From the editor's desk: Coronavirus pulls the trigger on digital transformation
July 2020, Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control) , News
The general consensus among economists is that the disruption to global markets caused by the coronavirus pandemic is going to result in economic upheaval of proportions not seen since the disastrous ...

Read more...
Siemens South Africa joins forces with the National Ventilator project community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
June 2020, Siemens Digital Industries , News
Siemens has been a long-standing partner of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa and have cooperated in various field of research, including manufacturing and mining. ...

Read more...
Endress+Hauser Switzerland turns 60
June 2020, Endress+Hauser South Africa , News
The Swiss sales centre of Endress+Hauser is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Active in Switzerland since 1960, today the global leader in measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial ...

Read more...
Siemens and Bentley Systems build digital twin for Indonesian petrochemical complex
June 2020, Siemens Digital Industries , News
Siemens and Bentley Systems will develop the first petrochemical digital twin in Indonesia for Chandra Asri, the country’s largest integrated petrochemical complex. With over 27 year footprint, the latter ...

Read more...
Hitachi ABB Power Grids commences operations
June 2020, ABB South Africa , News
In accordance with the agreement signed on 17 December 2018, Hitachi and ABB have announced the completion of all required procedures as planned and the formation of Hitachi ABB Power Grids Ltd. on 1 ...

Read more...
Zest grows Africa base with local partners
June 2020, Zest WEG Group , News
“The key to sustainable growth in Africa is partnering with locally owned companies which have proven track records, are technically sound, have strong market knowledge and a business culture aligned ...

Read more...