ICU!: New Microscope Technology Allows Optical View On The Scale Of Nanometers

March 2, 2011


I don't really keep up on microscope technology because I only use mine to look at breakfast cereal and bits of weed, but apparently there's been a breakthough in optics that allows an actual glimpse of objects on the nanometer scale (versus scanning electron microscopy, etc.). Which -- fun fact: the T-virus isn't even shaped like a T! WTF UMBRELLA?!

Their technique, reported in Nature Communications, makes use of "evanescent waves", emitted very near an object and usually lost altogether.

Instead, the beads gather the light and re-focus it, channelling it into a standard microscope.

Professor Li and his colleagues used glass beads measuring between two and nine millionths of a metre across, placed on the surfaces of their samples.

The beads collect the light transmitted through the samples, gathering up the evanescent waves and focusing them in such a way that a standard microscope lens could pick them up.

The team imaged minuscule features in various solid samples and even the nanometre-scale grooves in Blu-Ray discs to show that the approach's resolution beat all previous records for optical microscopy.

Not to brag or anything, but I have laser-vision that allows me to see objects on the through-walls scale. Just kidding, that's not what laser-vision is all about. I have been known to light a female's cigarette though which is a pretty cool party trick provided I haven't had too much to drink and melt the chick's face off.

Microscope with 50-nanometre resolution demonstrated [bbcnews]

Thanks to Rev Dr Dom, who made some joke about scientists finally being able to see my wiener BUT I'M NOT GONNA LET IT GET TO ME.

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