Updated 07:39 AM EST, Tue, Jan 18, 2022

Microscopes Now 20 Times More Powerful Thanks to New Techniques

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A team of Australian researchers has discovered a new method that allows microscopes to resolve images 20 times better than usual. This discovery will permit lab technicians to see details as small as a virus. 

According to China Topix, scientists use lasers to cool a "nanowire probe" down to minus 265 degrees Celsius. For reference, these nanowires are 500 times thinner than a human hair. Australian National University scientist, Dr. Ben Buchler, explained that utilizing this nanotechnology allows for increased visual resolution and permtis the observing of microscopic objects to be far more accurate. 

""The level of sensitivity achieved after cooling is accurate enough for us to sense the weight of a large virus that is 100 billion times lighter than a mosquito," Buchler said. This research could even help improve the viewing ability of "atomic-force microscopes" further. Atomic-force microscopes can see the "nanoscopic matter" that resides between molecular matter. 

Yet this new technique isn't perfect. The nanowires that are central to the new practice are very small, and are therefore subject to even the tiniest vibrations. 

The co-author of this project, Professor Ping Koy Lam, stated that the microscopic probes will vibrate and make their data less accurate. They can apparently compensate for this by using "cool lasers" to mitigate the interference from the ambient temperature, China Topix reports. Researchers have to be careful though to make sure the probe they use doesn't overheat by not keeping the laser on for very long. Scientists simply make their measurements quickly when the laser is off before the probe can heat up again. 

Another researcher expressed he is confident that through a process of trial and error the team will be able to overcome the limitations of this method. Harry Slayter stated that "intelligent data processing" by scientists will help them improve the probe's ability to resolve microscopic images and hopefully will make cool lasers obsolete. 

Hopefully this potentially revolutionary practice can help science see much better and lead to new and exciting discoveries about the microscopic world. 

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