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: Mechanochemistry paves the way to higher quality perovskite photovoltaics

Related Stories

Cassini's search for the building blocks of life on Titan

September 13, 2017

Lakes and seas of liquid methane, rain from hydrocarbon clouds, and evidence of poisonous hydrogen cyanide in the atmosphere of Titan were just some of the discoveries the Cassini probe made of Saturns's largest moon.

Giant spin-splitting on the surface of strontium titanate

October 14, 2014

The need for ever faster and more efficient electronic devices is growing rapidly, and thus the demand for new materials with new properties. Oxides, especially ones based on strontium titanate (SrTiO3), play an important ...

Discovering the bath scum on Titan

April 1, 2016

It's not everyday that you get to discover something new. But when you do it is a rather strange and quite brilliant feeling. You don't really cry out 'Eureka' (there's usually about a million things going about it your ...

Recommended for you

The microscopic origin of efficiency droop in LEDs

November 21, 2017

Light-emitting diodes—or LEDs, as they are commonly known—have been slowly replacing incandescent light bulbs in applications ranging from car taillights to indicators on electronics since their invention in the 1960s.

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

November 20, 2017

An atom-thick film of boron could be the first pure two-dimensional material able to emit visible and near-infrared light by activating its plasmons, according to Rice University scientists.

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.