Illustration for article titled Titan 80-300 Cubed is the Most Badass of All Microscopes

You are looking at the most powerful electron microscope on Earth. Housed at MacMaster University in Ontario, Canada, the Titan 80-300 Cubed will allow researchers to peer into the workings of molecules and atoms on a scale never before possible. What they find with the ultra microscope could revolutionize material science, medicine and energy production.

Illustration for article titled Titan 80-300 Cubed is the Most Badass of All Microscopes

A transmission electron microscope like the Titan doesn't produce a visual image directly. Instead, it fires a focused electron beam through the viewing material. Some electrons pass through, some are deflected. Sensors on the other side detect the electrons and can produce a spatial image, like the image of a surgical mesh above. The Titan achieves amazingly high resolution by using devices that correct spherical aberration and can produce an extremely narrow wavelength electron beam. It's so sensitive that the building will be isolated from sound and vibration, and the operator can't even be in the same room as the microscope. Seeing the molecular structure of objects with such fine detail will be a boon to nanotech. MacMaster reports that the Titan will be used for research in a variety of fields:

The microscope will be used to help produce more efficient lighting and better solar cells, study proteins and drug-delivery materials to target cancers. It will assess atmospheric particulates, and help create lighter and stronger automotive materials, more effective cosmetics, and higher density memory storage for faster electronic and telecommunication devices.

Image by: National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. McMaster University unveils world's most advanced microscope. [EurekAlerts!]

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