Advanced electron microscope is installed

Jan. 24, 2008 at 1:35 PM

BERKELEY, Calif., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. physicists have installed the world's most powerful transmission electron microscope, which produces images of less than half a 10-billionth of a meter.

The researchers installed the instrument at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Center for Electron Microscopy, located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Center Director Uli Dahmen said the microscope embodies technical advances that have only recently become possible, including ultra-stable electronics, improved aberration correctors and an extremely bright electron source, researchers said.

It's not just high resolution that makes the instrument the world's best microscope, Dahmen said, noting that when all the electrons in the beam focus at the same plane, image contrast and signal-to-noise ratio improve tremendously.

"It's because the signal-to-noise ratio is so good that you can adjust focus atom by atom, with enough sensitivity to obtain information about the three-dimensional atomic structure of a single nanoparticle." Dahmen added, "This brings us within reach of meeting the great challenge posed by the famous physicist Richard Feynman in 1959: the ability to analyze any chemical substance simply by looking to see where the atoms are."

The Berkeley National Laboratory conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending News
Seattle sea otter learns how to use an inhaler
Catholic conservatives wary of Pope's climate change message
Apple signals delivery of electric car by 2019, report says
Self-impregnated snake in Missouri has another 'virgin birth'
Ancient Roman village found in Germany