Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

World's Most Advanced Microscope Unveiled

Date:
October 23, 2008
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
The most advanced and powerful electron microscope on the planet -- capable of unprecedented resolution -- has been installed in the new Canadian Center for Electron Microscopy at McMaster University. It is so powerful it can probe the spaces between atoms.

Aluminum alloy sample seen through the lens of the Titan 80-300 Cubed.
Credit: Image courtesy of McMaster University

It's the equivalent of taking the Hubble Telescope and aiming it at the atomic level rather than at stars and galaxies, says Gianluigi Botton, director of the new Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy at McMaster, site of the world's most advanced and powerful electron microscope.

Related Articles


The Titan 80-300 Cubed was installed at the University early in the summer, and since then it has been put through its paces to achieve unprecedented resolution, and is quickly gaining attention from the media and scientists who work in the field.

"We are certainly the first university in the world with a microscope of such a high calibre," says Botton. "With this microscope we can now easily identify atoms, measure their chemical state and even probe the electrons that bind them together."

Mo Elbestawi, McMaster's vice-president, Research and International Affairs, says the power of the microscope is making McMaster a hub for a fast growing field.

"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 Elbestawi.

Last week, a group of international scientists came to campus to check out the Titan themselves.

"They were astounded by its capability, and by the fact that there is such support in this country for a venture of this magnitude," said John Capone, Dean of Science. "We should be very proud that McMaster has taken the initiative to secure this facility. There are many applications for it in life sciences. This particular instrument will enable many new discoveries in the areas of fundamental biological and physical sciences that will help us to better understand the nature of diseases and the development of new cures."

Dean of Engineering David Wilkinson sees the microscope through another lens.

"The Titan's ability to probe the structure of solid materials to the atomic level will have an impact on the development and commercialization of new technologies from biomedical devices to water quality monitoring and improved energy storage systems," said Wilkinson. "McMaster is committed to applying advanced research tools such as the Titan to the needs of our industrial partners, strengthening their ability to innovate and to compete globally."

Built in the Netherlands by the FEI Company at a cost of $15 million, the Titan is one of several instruments in the CCEM that 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 photo accompanying this story, for instance, is what the microscope's lens sees when it hones in on an aluminum alloy sample used for beverage cans. It was observed at an astounding 14-million times magnification. The scale bar is 1-nanometer or the equivalent of 1/50,000 of an average human hair.

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.

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 specially designed facility within the A.N. Bourns Science Building. It is able to withstand ultralow vibrations, low noise, and minute temperature fluctuations. Operation of the instrument is conducted in a separate room to ensure results of the highest quality.

The field of microscopy is undergoing fast and furious change. In the last several months alone, other microscopes have surfaced that will eventually trump the Titan's ability. Botton says that upgrades for the Titan are already in the works to maintain the microscope's premier position.

Funding for the microscope instrumentation was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Innovation Trust, the Ministry of Research and Innovation of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, through a partnership with FEI and McMaster University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McMaster University. The original article was written by Jane Christmas. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "World's Most Advanced Microscope Unveiled." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020120050.htm>.
McMaster University. (2008, October 23). World's Most Advanced Microscope Unveiled. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020120050.htm
McMaster University. "World's Most Advanced Microscope Unveiled." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020120050.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins