How Can We See The Tiniest Things - Reduce Expert Photo by...

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Unformatted text preview: Reduce Expert Photo by 75%, align to top and left of box. .47” left, 2.3” down How Can We See The Tiniest Things? The properties of any material depend not only on what it’s made of, but also how the atoms and molecules within it are arranged. One obvious example is water versus ice. Another you may already know is that black, crumbly graphite and a brilliant, hard diamond are different only because of the distinct arrangements of their carbon atoms. When we can see the exact structural differences in materials, we can learn how to engineer them to create new technologies and to improve existing ones. But this requires seeing on the scale of molecules and atoms—billionths of a meter, or nanometers. This is the kind of work I and my colleagues and students do at the Stanford Nanocharacterization Lab, where we have several microscopes to look at materials and structures on the nanoscale. This size scale is so small, we cannot perceive it with visible light waves. The wavelength of light is thousands of times too big (hundreds of nanometers). Using light to see atoms would be like trying to dial a phone with a baseball bat. You need something smaller— a finger—to press each key. To perceive individual atoms, we use electrons, which have wavelengths around two...
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This note was uploaded on 01/12/2011 for the course ME 305 taught by Professor Wright,j during the Spring '10 term at Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani - Hyderabad.

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