Skip to Content

Nanoscope

Specialized microscopes that can image individual atoms have opened up the nanometer-scaled world to scientists. But existing scanning probe microscopes, which move an extremely fine tip along a surface, are able only to map the topography of the atomic world; they cannot easily distinguish between different compounds.

To overcome this chemical blindness, scientists at Max Planck Institute in Martinsried, Germany, have built a scanning microscope able to perform infrared (IR) spectroscopy-a common analytical technique that exploits the characteristic IR absorption of different compounds. The tip of the microscope is positioned just above the sample and is illuminated by an infrared beam; the tip then senses the IR absorption of the sample beneath it. The Max Planck researchers have identified different polymers with a resolution of 100 nanometers, and hope to achieve resolution as fine as 10 nanometers.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.