Australian National University (ANU) physicists have created revolutionary light sources using nanoparticles that allow them to see a world of very small objects, even those smaller than a human hair. The technology presents a cost-effective and efficient method to inspect objects that are too small to be seen with the naked eye or even with a microscope, which can greatly advance the field of medical science. It can also have a positive impact on the semiconductor industry in enhancing the quality control processes in the manufacture of computer chips.
The ANU nanotechnology could help create a new generation of microscopes that can produce more detailed images of ultra-small things, enabling scientists to analyze such tiny objects and better understand and combat certain diseases and health conditions. The technology has been implemented in microscopes, allowing scientists to magnify the world of ultra-small things by a factor of 10 and achieve a resolution that conventional microscopes cannot.
Researchers say there is no limit to how high the frequency of light can go, and the higher the frequency, the smaller the objects that can be seen using that light source. With ANU’s extreme ultraviolet light sources, scientists can see beyond what is possible using today’s conventional microscopes, making it possible to analyze much smaller objects down to billionths of a meter. ANU’s technology could also be used as a quality control tool in the semiconductor industry during the manufacturing process, improving chip manufacturing yield and potentially saving billions of dollars.
The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Brescia, University of Arizona, and Korea University. The findings have been published in Science Advances.