Picture
This Tuesday, I was invited to Carleton University to attend the launch of their FEI Tecnai G2 Ultra High Resolution Field Emission Transmission Electron Microscope. The event included a snack table complete with cheese plate (score!), a few brief talks by department heads and a representative from Environment Canada, and a tour of the facility.

The microscope itself is a sleek, imposing, and strangely elegant piece of machinery. For a layman unfamiliar with the trappings of a hard science research lab, it's hard to tell exactly what it is on first glance. It dominates the tiny, informal room like a science fiction supercomputer, the findings of its extraordinary eye displayed by a pair of computers stationed nearby. 

I watched it for some time. On the screen floated a grainy grayscale image awash with curiously uniform static. Silver dots and lines formed complex patterns. Our guide pointed to the display and said "We're looking at a highly magnified piece of silver. The dots you see are individual silver atoms."

Atoms. I'd never seen an actual image of them before-- not one displayed live, anyway. They trembled as the guide spoke, the sound waves from his voice crashing against the highly delicate machine.

It was a pretty cool experience, but it made me realise that, although I knew it was physically possible to see atoms, I didn't have the slightest idea how. What exactly is an electron microscope, and how can it let us see something so small that even bacteria stand as giants before it?

A Finer Lens

A conventional or "light" microscope as you might see in a high school biology lab works, to put it very simply, by stacking two convex lenses atop one another. These lenses "bend" the light shining up from the microscope's stage, thus magnifying the image and allowing the human eye to perceive materials and organisms far smaller than it otherwise could.

However, light microscopes have their limitations, the most notable being the wavelength of visible light. As light waves within the visible spectrum oscillate every 400-700 nanometres, anything smaller than this cannot be properly seen through a light microscope. Hardly a problem when dealing with larger cells, but on a molecular level, a max resolution of 400 nanometres leaves a lot of stuff out of the equation (an atom's size, including its electron orbit, ranges from  0.1  to 0.5 nanometres).

For centuries, this limitation made the atom a purely theoretical construct, something that had long been postulated about-- permutations of atomic theory, albeit deeply flawed ones, extend as far back as 400 BCE-- but never properly seen. It wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century, when the cathode ray became marketable, that the idea of using something with a wavelength far smaller than light to produce images became practical. That something was electrons.

Put simply, an electron microscope shoots a beam of electrons through a specimen, which can be anything from a prepared metal to a piece of organic matter. By meticulously observing the reactions of these electrons, the microscope constructs a highly accurate image of the specimen at a maximum resolution that far exceeds what a light microscope is capable of.

Sweat the Small Stuff

Obviously, the electron microscope exponentially increased our capacity to understand-- and tinker with-- the basic building blocks of matter. Carleton's new purchase can reach resolutions of 0.144 nm, allowing it to see not just atoms, but atomic bonds. 

It's the most powerful microscope in Ottawa at the moment, and its uses are not wholly academic. Environment Canada intends to use the microscope for a variety of important projects, and the microscope will be made available to other clients as well.

So if you feel like taking a closer look-- a much, much, much closer look-- at that mole on your arm, give them a shout. I'm sure they'll hook you up (if the price is right).

8/8/2013 13:05:38

I would like to thank you for your nicely written post, its informative and your writing style encouraged me to read it till end

Reply
11/27/2013 08:06:31

This is great! It actually shows me where to expand my blog. I believe that one time in the future I might try to compose a book to do along with my blog.

Reply
8/26/2013 06:51:32

This is a wonderful Electron Microscope and I appreciate the scientist for this invention. I am amazed with its features and this is definitely a milestone in electronics. Thanks for sharing this with us and keep posting more updates in your blog.

Reply
11/7/2013 11:56:35

Wonderful post but I was wondering if you could write a little more on this subject? I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further

Reply

I am very glad to learn a lot from you this meaningful knowledge. From an article describing your unique way , we can see that you are an approachable , humorous person. Not only that, your article is rich with a lot of useful knowledge and helpful information.

Reply
2/20/2014 11:22:27

Always eat grapes downward - that is eat the best grapes first; in this way there will be none better left on the bunch, and each grape will seem good down to the last. If you eat the other way, you will not have a good grape in the lot.

Reply
9/2/2013 11:41:07

Green Power International was established in early 2002 in close cooperation with MWM GmbH (formerly Deutz Power System GmbH).

Reply
1/8/2014 11:31:01

It was a pretty cool experience, but it made me realise that, although I knew it was physically possible to see atoms, I didn't have the slightest idea how

Reply
1/16/2014 17:42:28

Good work.. The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information..I really love the way you discuss this kind of topic .

Reply
9/2/2013 11:41:50

This blog has lots of very useful information on it! Thanks for helping me.

Reply
9/3/2013 10:14:35

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate.

Reply
1/29/2014 14:04:56

I would like to thank you for your nicely written post, its informative and your writing style encouraged me to read it till end

Reply

I’m impressed with your views on this matter and I agree with a lot of your ideas.

Reply
9/3/2013 10:16:06

This is a wonderful constrain. I enjoyed the accruement lot. I acquisition scoring this communicator. Thanks for cropped this mensurable nub.

Reply
9/6/2013 13:39:46

The electron microscope hires electrostatic plus electromagnetic lenses to rule the electron chevron plus focus it to figure an representation. Thank you.

Reply
10/12/2013 07:40:01

Its a very good invented device and launching process with the University invited.

Reply
10/24/2013 07:46:26

This is great! It really shows me where to expand my blog. I think that sometime in the future I might try to write a book to go along with my blog.

Reply
10/24/2013 21:50:34

I am preparing my assignment paper and gathering information on this topic. Your post is one of the better that I have read.

Reply
12/11/2013 06:42:00

Justin Joschko is a writer, Editor and also a Researcher he done a great job to see microscopic computerised device that work on unseen elements you see by this microscopic instrument.

Reply
2/24/2014 19:58:54

I'm not asking any of you to make drastic changes to every single one of your recipes or to totally change the way you do business. But what I am asking is that you consider reformulating your menu in pragmatic and incremental ways to create healthier versions of the foods that we all love.

Reply
1/15/2014 19:19:12

It's amazing how far technology has come that we are actually able to see atoms live and moving around. I would have expected this microscope to be a larger piece of equipment. Although things these days are getting smaller and more compact. Probably will not be too long before a microscope is just another app for your iPhone.

Reply
1/27/2014 10:30:59

The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post.
We understand that being a student can sometimes be difficult. You have all the different classes you are taking with their readings, lectures, tests, projects, and essay writing requirements.

Reply

Its a very good invented device and launching process with the University invited. I’m impressed with your views on this matter and I agree with a lot of your ideas.

Reply
2/4/2014 17:04:07

Nice article, thanks for the information. It's very complete information about. I will bookmark for next reference.

Reply
2/11/2014 08:46:07

If you want help of a dissertation writer, So you can choose <a href="http://www.awesomeessay.com/">dissertation writers on awesommessay.com</a><br/>

Reply
3/7/2014 10:41:13

Our flexible Vinyl and Rubber flooring mats are custom molded to fit the floor of your truck, van, SUV or taxi cab. We have both custom molded vinyl or rubber automotive flooring available, depending on your vehicle and the application.

Reply

Best Manpower Recruitment agencies in Pakistan, CandorRecruitmentGroup.com Just as only a few seeds manage to measure and grow from lack of care.

Reply

Best Manpower Recruitment agencies in Pakistan, CandorRecruitmentGroup.com Just as only a few seeds manage to measure and grow from lack of care.

Reply
4/5/2014 11:30:25

I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own website now.

Reply
4/6/2014 06:54:50

Your plan is actual acceptable and i acknowledge you and bent for some added advisory posts.

Reply
4/15/2014 19:46:11

Computer have officially become a necessity in this 21st century and This is the best Computer college in faisalabad that Offers advance Computer Courses.

Reply
4/17/2014 11:56:39

This is a nice post in an interesting line of content.Thanks for sharing this article, great way of bring this topic to discussion.

Reply
4/22/2014 10:46:21

I am very happy to read this. This blog was really an awesome site, Continue blogging new and entertaining posts.

Reply
4/23/2014 08:11:54

I need this article to complete my assignment in the college, and it has same topic with your article. Thanks, great share.

Reply
4/24/2014 09:40:29

I'm looking for good news and ideas. This is a good give ,Keep up the good work!

Reply
4/25/2014 07:56:40

best ccna course college in faisalabad

Reply
4/25/2014 14:48:52

I acknowledge the same best work from you at some point or an alternate later.

Reply
4/27/2014 08:55:24

Awesome information. I am really surprised with this topic. Keep up the good work and post more here to read.

Reply
5/2/2014 08:00:42

such as for electric money, vehicles, taxes, and so forth. Therefore, afore we adjudge to achieve down, anticipate about it, and acquisition a appropriate job.

Reply
5/4/2014 19:33:54

I just read the regularly one particular subject material. Beautiful articles or reviews, thank you to suit downloading and sharing an article content with all of us.

Reply
5/6/2014 13:08:14

I don't care who people are saying about academy writing service companies but that kind of writing service helped me a lot. I often used that kind of writing service for proofread my essays.

Reply
5/7/2014 09:32:38

I was about to say something on this topic. But now i can see that everything on this topic is very amazing and mind blowing, so i have nothing to say here. I am just going through all the topics and being appreciated. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

"Thanks Your Post has a lot of great information and it has really helped me alot. Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it up

Reply
5/8/2014 18:14:58

This is the first time I journeyed to this blog. actually this is awesome work with the blog. It is very large pleasure to get it as I got gigantic assists right here. I highly realise the bloggers workings and will delay for more posted notes from the admin

Reply
5/17/2014 14:01:24

I am really very happy to find this particular site. I just wanted to say thank you for this huge read!! I absolutely enjoying every petite bit of it and I have you bookmarked to test out new substance you post.

Reply



Leave a Reply.