Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Visializing Atomic Interactions: Breakthroughs for Nanotech

A team of researchers from U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, FEI Company (Nasdaq: FEIC) and CEOS GmbH, in Heidelberg, Germany, has succeeded in imaging below 0.5 angstroms using a new instrument.

To get a better idea how small 0.5 angstroms is, bear in mind that it is one-billions of 5 centimeters, the DNA helix is 20 angstroms in diameter, a carbon atom is about 2 angstroms, and the width of an average strand of hair ranges between 500,000 to 1,000,000 angstroms.
Electron microscopes can be used to observe fine details of the inner structure of materials. The ability to characterize the atomic-scale structure, chemistry, and dynamics of individual nanostructures makes this type of microscope a very powerful tool for scientists in all disciplines. With the extraordinary 'vision' of the special TEAM microscope it will become possible to study how atoms combine to form materials, how materials grow and how they respond to a variety of external factors. These constitute many of the most practical things that science needs to know about materials and will improve designs for everything from better, lighter, more efficient automobiles, to stronger buildings and new ways of harvesting energy.
It is not difficult to envision how this kind of development will enhance our ability to build structures with atomic precision, which is a significant aspect of the coming nanotech revolution. To see what is actually happening at this scale will enhance researchers' abilitiy to develop the means and methods of nanoscale design and manufacture.

Stay tuned!

Source article.

[via Advanced Nanotechnology]

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