Thursday, September 11, 2008

TEAM 0.5 Microsope Takes Closest Look Ever at Graphene, the World's Strongest Known Material [Powerful Microscopes]


Graphene is getting a lot of publicity these days. It is being hailed as the future of the electronics industry—the material that will eventually replace silicon. It has also recently been confirmed as the world's strongest known material. Now, researchers at the Berkeley Lab have thrust graphene into the spotlight once again thanks to the TEAM 0.5: the world's most powerful transmission electron microscope. It has produced the first "stunning" images of graphene's individual carbon atoms.

Now, I'm no scientist, but apparently this sort of image gives even the most seasoned electron microscopist a raging science boner. But it is not so much about the graphene as it is about the potential of the TEAM 0.5. One researcher noted that it "allows for the detection of every single atom from the Periodic Table provided that the sample under investigation can stand the radiation damage." Basically, it can study individual atoms in real time and produce high-resolution images of its subject. That will allow researchers to fully realize the potential of graphene by understanding how defects in the crystal structure can effect its properties. And they claim this is only the tip of the iceberg. Noooow I feel a science boner coming on. [Nanowerk and Science Daily]