On October 4th, the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their contributions to the field of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), that is, using an electron microscope to examine samples held at very low temperatures. The laureates, Jacques Dubochet, Richard Henderson and Joachim Frank, each working on a different aspect of the technique, developed new methods that enabled significant progress in the use of the technique to visualize large biomolecules and multimolecular complexes, like proteins and protein assemblies. The ability to see the detailed structure of these molecular entities and observe their interactions is a critical step in understanding the relationships between structure and function. Beyond expanding our knowledge of the molecular basis of life, this ability holds great promise for the identification of new drug targets and the rational design of effective therapeutic agents.Transmission electron microscopy and its application to imaging of … [Read more...] about Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 Recognizes Key Developments in Cryo-Electron Microscopy
Transmission electron microscopy a textbook for materials science
Physicists from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms. The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a billionth of a second). What exactly happens in such an astonishingly short time has so far remained largely inaccessible. Now a research team led by Dr. Peter Baum and Dr. Yuya Morimoto at LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) has developed a new mode of electron microscopy, which enables one to observe this fundamental interaction in real time and real space. To visualize phenomena that occur on the attosecond scale, such as the interaction between light and atoms, one needs a method that keeps pace with the ultrafast processes at a spatial resolution on the atomic scale. … [Read more...] about Microscopy: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions
Chipmakers continue to march down the various process nodes, but the industry will require new breakthroughs to extend IC scaling at 10nm and beyond. In fact, the industry will require innovations in at least two main areas—patterning and the Interconnect. There are other areas of concern, but one technology is quickly rising near the top of the list—metrology.Metrology, the science of measuring and characterizing tiny structures and materials, is becoming more complex and expensive at each node. Today’s metrology tools are capable of measuring structures in two dimensions, and in three dimensions to some degree, but that’s not nearly enough for the complexity of today’s 3D NAND and finFET devices. And it’s unclear if existing tools can meet the stringent requirements for future devices at 10nm and beyond. In response, the industry has been developing several next-generation metrology technologies. The big focus has been in three … [Read more...] about Waiting For Next-Gen Metrology
Originally published November 1996. The building's very architecture invites interaction. From the three stories of research laboratories on its north side, occupants can look through large picture windows across a skylit atrium at the people in the five stories of faculty offices on the south side. The separation of the laboratories from the offices is deliberate: it encourages scientists and engineers to walk back and forth several times a day, maximizing chance encounters with colleagues. Each of the 11 pedestrian bridges uniting the two sides has a scattering of coffee tables, chairs, and whiteboards, to promote impromptu discussions and brainstorming. The wide vistas of the block-long vaulted atrium set ideas soaring while swallowing sound, granting privacy to each of the many conversations it shelters. Intimate lounges tucked in odd nooks complement larger seminar rooms, conference rooms, and the 200-seat auditorium. The building's subliminal message is: meet, talk, share. … [Read more...] about The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
The clearest way to make solar power cheaper than fossil fuels is to find ways to inexpensively increase the efficiency of solar cells—to convert more of the sun’s energy into electricity. That’s the promise of a class of materials called perovskites. These abundant minerals are superior to silicon at absorbing light and have electronic properties that could make them more efficient than silicon at generating electricity. Researchers made the first solar cell out of perovskites nine years ago. It converted just over 2 percent of the energy it captured from light into electricity. Since then, perovskite solar cell performance has improved at an astonishing rate and is already approaching that of silicon. Research teams all over the world are scrambling to make devices out of the material, and one startup is promising a commercial product by 2017. But is there room in the market for a brand new solar material? The price of silicon solar panels has been falling … [Read more...] about Could a New Solar Material Outperform Silicon?
Two-dimensional phosphane, a material known as phosphorene, has potential application as a material for semiconducting transistors in ever faster and more powerful computers. But there’s a hitch. Many of the useful properties of this material, like its ability to conduct electrons, are anisotropic, meaning they vary depending on the orientation of the crystal. Now, a team including researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has developed a new method to quickly and accurately determine that orientation using the interactions between light and electrons within phosphorene and other atoms-thick crystals of black phosphorus.Phosphorene–a single layer of phosphorous atoms–was isolated for the first time in 2014, allowing physicists to begin exploring its properties experimentally and theoretically. Vincent Meunier, head of the Rensselaer Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy and a leader of the team that developed the new method, published his … [Read more...] about Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material
JEOL USA and the University of California’s Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI) have entered into a strategic partnership to create a premier electron microscopy and materials science research facility. The IMRI will serve as an interdisciplinary nexus for the study and development of new materials, enabling advances in solar cell, battery, semiconductor, biological science, and medical technologies.The IMRI is headed by Dr. Xiaoqing Pan, an internationally-recognized researcher in the physics of materials who joined the UC Irvine faculty in 2015 to lead the $20 million initiative.The new electron microscopy cluster, to be known as the JEOL Center for Nanoscale Solutions, will house JEOL’s highest performing Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM) for characterizing and analyzing materials to determine their potential for a myriad of advanced applications.This will be the first research lab in the Americas to install the newly-introduced JEOL Grand ARM, which … [Read more...] about JEOL and UC Irvine partner to develop electron microscopy and materials research center
Technology has a tendency to age in dog years, but Phase One released an update on Monday that shows it is making good on its promise to deliver a future-proof camera system. The third update to the Phase One Update System, the firmware means the XF IQ3 100 is now the first medium format camera with an electronic shutter.Electronic shutters use no physical moving pieces — instead, a burst of energy signals the camera’s sensor to start recording a picture. While electronic shutters have some tradeoffs — the images tend to be noisier, for example — they boast a few benefits, including a silent operation for applications like wildlife photography.With the update, IQ3 shooters can use the built-in time lapse and focus stacking functions with more efficiency and less noise, Phase One said. Electronic shutters also allow a camera to use Live View while shooting.Along with the new electronic shutter feature, the entire XF camera line bulks up on flash-control … [Read more...] about Phase One shushes the click with a new electronic shutter, a first for medium format
Data Analysis Are Black Holes a Model for Superconductors?Mottness from a black hole. Courtesy of Philip PhillipsBlack holes are some of the heaviest objects in the universe. Electrons are some of the lightest. Now, physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have shown how charged black holes can be used to model the behavior of interacting electrons in unconventional superconductors. "The context of this problem is high-temperature superconductivity," said Philip Phillips. "One of the great unsolved problems in physics is the origin of superconductivity (a conducting state with zero resistance) in the copper oxide ceramics discovered in 1986." The results of research by Phillips and his colleagues Robert G. Leigh, Mohammad Edalati, and Ka Wai Lo were published online in Physical Review Letters on March 1, 2011, and in Physical Review D on February 25.Unlike the old superconductors, which were all metals, the new superconductors start off their lives as insulators. In … [Read more...] about Are Black Holes a Model for Superconductors?
Modeling High malaria transmission areas remain a problem for eliminationCurrent tools for combating malaria, such as artemisinin-combination therapy and increasing coverage of long-lasting insecticide bednets can result in major reductions in Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission and the associated disease burden in Africa. Furthermore, if such interventions can be rolled out to achieve a comprehensive and sustained intervention program, a parasite prevalence threshold of 1% may be achievable in areas where there is a low- to moderate transmission of malaria and where mosquitoes mainly rest indoors. These are the findings from a modeling study by Jamie Griffin and colleagues from Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, published in this week's PLoS Medicine. The authors reached these conclusions by developing a mathematical simulation model for P. falciparum transmission in Africa, which incorporated three major types of mosquito, parasite … [Read more...] about High malaria transmission areas remain a problem for elimination