An international team of scientists has refined a method for imaging the chemical components of living cells. Working in collaboration with the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., the researchers shone a bright infrared light onto cells and created images with both spectroscopy and microscopy. Using microscopy alone, researchers have viewed the shape and structure of components in a cell. They also have used IR light to identify organic compounds by monitoring the wavelengths that a sample absorbs. Combining the use of an IR spectrometer and a microscope -- in a method called infrared spectromicroscopy -- has allowed the Brookhaven scientists to monitor the location of lipids, proteins and nucleic acids.