McMaster University unveils world's most advanced microscope

October 20, 2008

The most advanced and powerful electron microscope on the planet—capable of unprecedented resolution—has been installed in the new Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy at McMaster University.

"We are the first university in the world with a microscope of such a high calibre," says Gianluigi Botton, director of the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy, professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and the project's leader. "The resolution of the Titan 80-300 Cubed microscope is remarkable, the equivalent of the Hubble Telescope looking at the atomic level instead of at stars and galaxies. With this microscope we can now easily identify atoms, measure their chemical state and even probe the electrons that bind them together."

Because we are at the very limits of what physics allows us to see, —"even breathing close to a regular microscope could affect the quality of the results," says Botton—the new microscope is housed in a stable, specially designed facility able to withstand ultralow vibrations, low noise, and minute temperature fluctuations. Operation of the instrument will also be done from a separate room to ensure results of the highest quality.

Built in the Netherlands by the FEI Company at a cost of $15-million, the Titan cluster will examine at the nano level hundreds of everyday products in order to understand, manipulate and improve their efficiency, says John Preston, director of McMaster's Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research.

The microscope will be used to help produce more efficient lighting and better solar cells, study proteins and drug-delivery materials to target cancers. It will assess atmospheric particulates, and help create lighter and stronger automotive materials, more effective cosmetics, and higher density memory storage for faster electronic and telecommunication devices.

"The addition of the Titan 80-300 Cubed to the Centre's suite of microscopy instruments that include a Titan cryo-in situ solidifies Ontario's and Canada's lead in nanotechnology, and places us among the world's most advanced materials research institutions," says Mo Elbestawi, McMaster's vice-president, Research and International Affairs.

Source: McMaster University

Explore further: Researchers find nanowires have unusually pronounced 'anelastic' properties

Related Stories

Neutrons find 'missing' magnetism of plutonium

July 10, 2015

Groundbreaking work at two Department of Energy national laboratories has confirmed plutonium's magnetism, which scientists have long theorized but have never been able to experimentally observe. The advances that enabled ...

What is lunar regolith?

May 29, 2015

When you're walking around on soft ground, do you notice how your feet leave impressions? Perhaps you've tracked some of the looser earth in your yard into the house on occasion? If you were to pick up some of these traces ...

Nanoscale worms provide new route to nano-necklace structures

March 27, 2015

Researchers have developed a novel technique for crafting nanometer-scale necklaces based on tiny star-like structures threaded onto a polymeric backbone. The technique could provide a new way to produce hybrid organic-inorganic ...

Recommended for you

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity

July 28, 2015

When it comes to installing solar cells, labor cost and the cost of the land to house them constitute the bulk of the expense. The solar cells—made often of silicon or cadmium telluride—rarely cost more than 20 percent ...

Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode

July 29, 2015

A team of researchers from Berkeley Lab and Columbia University has passed a major milestone in molecular electronics with the creation of the world's highest-performance single-molecule diode. Working at Berkeley Lab's Molecular ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

hudres
5 / 5 (1) Oct 20, 2008
It would be more appropriate for this venue to state this this microscope has resolution of less than 1 Angstrom (according to the manufacturer). It's more scientific.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.