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Boston College receives W.M. Keck Foundation funding for nanoscale optical microscope
Date:2/3/2011

site www.wmkeck.org.

In addition to Naughton, the research team includes Professor of Physics Krzysztof Kempa, Joshua Rosenberg, PhD, manager of the University's microscopy imaging facility, and Greg McMahon, PhD, a researcher and nanolithography specialist in the University's Clean Room Nanofabrication Facility.

Tiny pieces of matter present a significant challenge to microscopy because they can be smaller than the wavelengths of the electromagnetic waves that strike them. An optical barrier known since the 1800's as the diffraction limit restricts the resolution, or clarity, necessary to distinguishing among the features of matter. Researchers have traditionally used electron microscopes to "see" matter using electron waves, which can be much shorter than light waves, or optical devices after a sample has been colored with fluorescent dyes. Rosenberg says the advantage of the NCOM will be the ability to examine matter using visible light or photons without the need to manipulate or stain the sample.

Where traditional microscopes offer a resolution that allows scientists to distinguish between two features as long as they are separated by 200 nanometers or more, the NCOM is projected to provide resolution of 20 nanometers. Without the need to manipulate or treat the sample, tissue could be examined in its living state, instead of in the vacuum of an electron microscope.

"With super resolution microscopy, we propose we can achieve 20 nm resolution, which is a 10-fold improvement," said Rosenberg. "That means scientists will be able to see with much finer detail what is going on inside of a cell and how the cell works."


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Contact: Ed Hayward
ed.hayward@bc.edu
617-552-4826
Boston College
Source:Eurekalert  

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Boston College receives W.M. Keck Foundation funding for nanoscale optical microscope
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