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Technology and Health News > Friday, February-29-2008

Atoms in color

No more black and white images: a new electronic tool will observe the chemical species to the wavelengths of visible

The color images provided by an ordinary microscope can not make a resolution at the level of individual atoms, while the electronic microscopes, capable of atomic resolution, providing black and white images. In these images different atoms appear as different shades of grey. Now, an electron microscope of a new generation, recently designed and installed at Cornell University and the subject of a study published in Science, will obtain color images at atomic resolution.

David Muller, a professor of applied physics who led the research, explains how the new microscope will be able to see atoms of different types as different colors, thus identifying clearly the different chemical species. The tool is a new type of scanning electron microscope, equipped with special technology of correction. This system allows you to focus a thin and intense electron ray on an area smaller than a single atom: This way you can get information normally hidden in the "background noise", in no time at all.

In particular, as each atom interacts differently with the electron beam, we can identify the individual atomic species. Furthermore, this method can make it possible to highlight the links between the atoms in a crystal, as such ties have special electronic density with which the electron beam incidentally interacts.

One of the most important applications that you can imagine for this new system is represented by the study of the pathology materials, "namely the study of the atomic structure of materials for electronic devices, verify the correct assembly and identifying any defects otherwise invisible.

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Comments for Atoms in color


posted by Guest at Saturday, August-09-2008 23:34pm

Pesquisadora de trabalho de ciencias

Gostaria de saber qual eh a cor do atomo de dois eletrons!
posted by Patricia at Tuesday, October-14-2008 12:04pm

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