Nanoparticles improve imaging system light frequency and resolution 2023

ANU physicists are utilizing nanoparticles to produce new light sources that will “peel back the curtain” onto the world of extremely small objects—thousands of times smaller than a human hair—with substantial benefits for medical and other technology.

The results, published in Science Advances, could revolutionize medical science by providing an economical and effective way to evaluate minuscule items too small for microscopes or the human eye.

The semiconductor industry and computer chip quality control may benefit from the work. ANU nanoparticles enhance light frequency by seven times for cameras and other devices. Researchers claim there is “no limit” to light frequency. We can notice smaller objects with higher frequencies.

Scientists could better understand and treat diseases by analyzing such little particles.

The method, which uses only one nanoparticle, might be used in microscopes to allow scientists zoom into very microscopic items at 10 times the resolution of normal microscopes. Researchers might investigate cell interiors and individual viruses.

Nanoparticles improve imaging system light frequency and resolution 2023 2

Conventional microscopes can only study objects over a ten-millionth of a meter. “However, there is growing demand across a range of sectors, including the medical field, to be able to analyze much smaller objects down to one billionth of a meter,” said ANU Research School of Physics and University of Adelaide lead author Dr. Anastasiia Zalogina.

“Our technology could help meet that demand.”

Researchers claim ANU nanotech could help make microscopes with more detailed images.

Scientists can’t use an optical microscope to magnify a tiny item. Dr. Zalogina advised using super-resolution microscopy or an electron microscope to analyze these tiny items.

But such methods are sluggish and the technology is pricey, frequently costing over a million dollars.

Electron microscopy can destroy fragile material, whereas light-based microscopes avoid this.

Electromagnetic waves emit rainbow-colored light.

Red is our eyes’ lowest frequency. Infra-red is even lower than visible frequencies. Violet has the highest visible frequency. Ultraviolet, with a higher frequency, is invisible.

Cameras and other technology allow us to “see” infrared and ultraviolet light.

ANU co-author Dr. Sergey Kruk said researchers want “extreme-ultraviolet” light frequencies.

Violet light can see smaller things than red light. “With extreme-ultraviolet light sources, we can see things conventional microscopes can’t,” Dr. Kruk remarked.

Dr. Kruk suggested the semiconductor industry adopt ANU technology for quality control to speed manufacturing.

“Computer chips have microscopic components with feature sizes almost one billionth of a meter. “Manufacturers should use tiny sources of extreme-ultraviolet light to monitor the chip production process in real time to detect problems early,” he said.

That manner, manufacturers might save time and costs on faulty chips, enhancing chip manufacturing yields. One percent higher computer chip yields save two billion dollars.

“Australia’s booming optics and photonics industry is represented by nearly 500 companies and accounts for about $4.3 billion of economic activity, making our high-tech ecosystem well-positioned to adopt new types of light sources in order to reach new global markets in nanotechnology industries and research.”

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