NIST Puts the Optical Microscope Under the Microscope to Achieve Atomic Accuracy
Over the last two decades, scientists have discovered that the optical microscope can be used to detect, track and image objects much smaller than their traditional limit—about half the wavelength of visible light, or a few hundred nanometers.
That pioneering research, which won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has enabled researchers to track proteins in fertilized eggs, visualize how molecules form electrical connections between nerve cells in the brain, and study the nanoscale motion of miniature motors.
Now, research developments at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) enable the microscopes to measure these nanometer-scale details with a new level of accuracy. The work has been accepted for publication in the journal Light: Science & Applications, and the accepted article has now been posted online.