Glasgow collaborates in ground-breaking new microscope
The SuperSTEM Laboratory, a world leading electron microscope facility based in Cheshire, has unveiled a new electron microscope.
The first of its kind anywhere in the world it will be in the vanguard of a generation of microscopes that show details of the atomic world which have previously been inaccessible to scientists.
Not only does it routinely magnify a sample by 20 million times but is able to collect spectra at that scale which tell the scientists what kind of atoms they are looking at. At 20 million times an atom is about 5mm across. If a person were magnified this much, they would be able to hug the earth.
Current work on these microscopes will help unravel the role of novel nano-size catalysts for using what oil we have most economically and provide structural information on a revolutionary class of promising nano-scale electronic devices. It will even lead to an understanding of how cells interact with such nanoparticles, an essential, but until recently, overlooked contribution to the safe implementation of emerging nanotechnologies.
This is ongoing work but the capabilities of this new microscope will be essential for problem-solving in the future.
The SuperSTEM laboratory is a collaboration of leading scientists from the universities of Liverpool, Glasgow and Leeds and was recently awarded its second term of EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Council) funding allowing them to build on their success, producing outstanding results for researchers around the world.
First published: 22 January 2008