Apr. 18, 2013 — Ultrafast high-resolution imaging in real time could be a reality with a new research discovery led by the University of Melbourne.
In work published in Nature Communications, researchers from the University of Melbourne and the ARC Centre for Excellence in Coherent Xray Science have demonstrated that ultra short durations of electron bunches generated from laser-cooled atoms can be both very cold and ultra-fast.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Robert Scholten said the surprising finding was an important step towards making ultrafast high-resolution electron imaging a reality.
"Electron microscopy, which uses electrons to create an image of a specimen or biological molecule has revolutionised science by showing us the structure at micro and even nanometre scales," Associate Professor Scholten said.
"Our discovery opens up the possibility to dramatically enhance the technology."
Researchers say imaging at this level is like making a 'molecular movie', The temperature of the electrons determines how sharp the images can be, while the electron pulse duration has a similar effect to shutter speed.
- A. J. McCulloch, D. V. Sheludko, M. Junker, R. E. Scholten. High-coherence picosecond electron bunches from cold atoms. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1692 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2699
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