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The team of Toma Susi at the University of Vienna uses a state-of-the-art electron microscope, the UltraSTEM, to manipulate strongly bound materials with atomic precision. Since the instruments are fully computerized, it is possible to show in a simulation how researchers actually use them. This allows for compelling and largely realistic presentations of the most recent research in materials science. A simulation game on display at the Vienna Technical Museum in a special exhibition is now available online, together with the latest research advance of silicon impurity manipulation in single-walled carbon nanotubes.
Electron microscopes enable much greater resolution than optical microscopes. While optical microscopes image using visible light and thus can image objects down to a thousandth of a millimeter, electron microscopes use electron beams and can image much smaller objects, down to individual atoms, such as silicon impurities in the lattice of graphene. The Nion UltraSTEM scanning transmission electron microscope of the University of Vienna allows a 50 million X magnification, and is fully computer-controlled. Since image contrast depends on how much the electrons are scattered at each location—which, in turn, is determined by the charge of the nucleus, with silicon having more protons than carbon—researchers can see directly where the impurities are located.
Addition - Imaging - Electron - Beam - Microscope
In addition to imaging, the focused electron beam of the microscope can be used to move the atoms. Each electron of the beam has a small chance of being scattered back by the nucleus of the targeted atom, giving the atom a small push in the opposite direction, as revealed by earlier research by the group. The electron beam scans across a graphene sample line...
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