Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > New kind of microscope uses neutrons: Device could open up new areas of research on materials and biological samples at tiny scales


The team's small prototype neutron microscope is shown set up for initial testing at MIT's Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. The microscope mirrors are inside the small metal box at top right.
Photo courtesy of the researchers
The team's small prototype neutron microscope is shown set up for initial testing at MIT's Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. The microscope mirrors are inside the small metal box at top right.

Photo courtesy of the researchers

Abstract:
Researchers at MIT, working with partners at NASA, have developed a new concept for a microscope that would use neutrons — subatomic particles with no electrical charge — instead of beams of light or electrons to create high-resolution images.

New kind of microscope uses neutrons: Device could open up new areas of research on materials and biological samples at tiny scales

Cambridge, MA | Posted on October 4th, 2013

Among other features, neutron-based instruments have the ability to probe inside metal objects — such as fuel cells, batteries, and engines, even when in use — to learn details of their internal structure. Neutron instruments are also uniquely sensitive to magnetic properties and to lighter elements that are important in biological materials.

The new concept has been outlined in a series of research papers this year, including one published this week in Nature Communications by MIT postdoc Dazhi Liu, research scientist Boris Khaykovich, professor David Moncton, and four others.

Moncton, an adjunct professor of physics and director of MIT's Nuclear Reactor Laboratory, says that Khaykovich first proposed the idea of adapting a 60-year-old concept for a way of focusing X-rays using mirrors to the challenge of building a high-performing neutron microscope. Until now, most neutron instruments have been akin to pinhole cameras: crude imaging systems that simply let light through a tiny opening. Without efficient optical components, such devices produce weak images with poor resolution.

Beyond the pinhole

"For neutrons, there have been no high-quality focusing devices," Moncton says. "Essentially all of the neutron instruments developed over a half-century are effectively pinhole cameras." But with this new advance, he says, "We are turning the field of neutron imaging from the era of pinhole cameras to an era of genuine optics."

"The new mirror device acts like the image-forming lens of an optical microscope," Liu adds.

Because neutrons interact only minimally with matter, it's difficult to focus beams of them to create a telescope or microscope. But a basic concept was proposed, for X-rays, by Hans Wolter in 1952 and later developed, under the auspices of NASA, for telescopes such as the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory (which was designed and is managed by scientists at MIT). Neutron beams interact weakly, much like X-rays, and can be focused by a similar optical system.

It's well known that light can be reflected by normally nonreflective surfaces, so long as it strikes that surface at a shallow angle; this is the basic physics of a desert mirage. Using the same principle, mirrors with certain coatings can reflect neutrons at shallow angles.

A sharper, smaller device

The actual instrument uses several reflective cylinders nested one inside the other, so as to increase the surface area available for reflection. The resulting device could improve the performance of existing neutron imaging systems by a factor of about 50, the researchers say — allowing for much sharper images, much smaller instruments, or both.

The team initially designed and optimized the concept digitally, then fabricated a small test instrument as a proof-of-principle and demonstrated its performance using a neutron beam facility at MIT's Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. Later work, requiring a different spectrum of neutron energies, was carried out at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Such a new instrument could be used to observe and characterize many kinds of materials and biological samples; other nonimaging methods that exploit the scattering of neutrons might benefit as well. Because the neutron beams are relatively low-energy, they are "a much more sensitive scattering probe," Moncton says, for phenomena such as "how atoms or magnetic moments move in a material."

The researchers next plan to build an optimized neutron-microscopy system in collaboration with NIST, which already has a major neutron-beam research facility. This new instrument is expected to cost a few million dollars.

Moncton points out that a recent major advance in the field was the construction of a $1.4 billion facility that provides a tenfold increase in neutron flux. "Given the cost of producing the neutron beams, it is essential to equip them with the most efficient optics possible," he says.

In addition to the researchers at MIT, the team included Mikhail Gubarev and Brian Ramsey of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and Lee Robertson and Lowell Crow of ORNL. The work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Written by: David L. Chandler, MIT News Office

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sarah McDonnell

617-253-8923

Copyright © Massachusetts Institute of Technology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Scientific breakthrough in rechargeable batteries: Researchers from Singapore and Québec Team Up to Develop Next-Generation Materials to Power Electronic Devices and Electric Vehicles February 28th, 2015

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life: Berkeley Lab research provides comprehensive description of ultra-small bacteria February 28th, 2015

Leti to Offer Updates on Silicon Photonics Successes at OFC in LA February 27th, 2015

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Untangling DNA with a droplet of water, a pipet and a polymer: With the 'rolling droplet technique,' a DNA-injected water droplet rolls like a ball over a platelet, sticking the DNA to the plate surface February 27th, 2015

Laboratories

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life: Berkeley Lab research provides comprehensive description of ultra-small bacteria February 28th, 2015

Physics

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Real-time observation of bond formation by using femtosecond X-ray liquidography February 26th, 2015

Imaging

Renishaw and Bruker team up for a workshop on TERS and co-localised AFM Raman February 26th, 2015

Real-time observation of bond formation by using femtosecond X-ray liquidography February 26th, 2015

Bruker-Sponsored Sixth AFM BioMed Conference Highlights Increasing Impact of AFM in Biological Applications February 26th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life: Berkeley Lab research provides comprehensive description of ultra-small bacteria February 28th, 2015

Warming up the world of superconductors: Clusters of aluminum metal atoms become superconductive at surprisingly high temperatures February 25th, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE Researchers and Corporate Partners to Present Forty Papers at Globally Recognized Lithography Conference: SUNY Poly CNSE Research Group Awarded Both ‘Best Research Paper’ and ‘Best Research Poster’ at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2015 forum February 25th, 2015

European roadmap for graphene science and technology published February 25th, 2015

Discoveries

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life: Berkeley Lab research provides comprehensive description of ultra-small bacteria February 28th, 2015

Leti to Offer Updates on Silicon Photonics Successes at OFC in LA February 27th, 2015

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Untangling DNA with a droplet of water, a pipet and a polymer: With the 'rolling droplet technique,' a DNA-injected water droplet rolls like a ball over a platelet, sticking the DNA to the plate surface February 27th, 2015

Announcements

Scientific breakthrough in rechargeable batteries: Researchers from Singapore and Québec Team Up to Develop Next-Generation Materials to Power Electronic Devices and Electric Vehicles February 28th, 2015

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life: Berkeley Lab research provides comprehensive description of ultra-small bacteria February 28th, 2015

Leti to Offer Updates on Silicon Photonics Successes at OFC in LA February 27th, 2015

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Tools

Hiden CATLAB Microreactor System at ARABLAB 2015 | Visit us on Booth 1011 February 26th, 2015

Renishaw and Bruker team up for a workshop on TERS and co-localised AFM Raman February 26th, 2015

Maximum Precision in 3D Printing: New complete solution makes additive manufacturing standard for microfabrication February 26th, 2015

Real-time observation of bond formation by using femtosecond X-ray liquidography February 26th, 2015

Aerospace/Space

National Space Society and Space Frontier Foundation announce the formation of the Alliance for Space Development February 25th, 2015

Rosetta Team Wins the National Space Society's Science and Engineering Space Pioneer Award February 23rd, 2015

A new spin on spintronics: Michigan team tests radiation-resistant spintronic material, possibly enabling electronic devices that will work in harsh environments February 17th, 2015

Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) Rover and Science Team Wins the National Space Society's von Braun Award February 13th, 2015

Alliances/Partnerships/Distributorships

National Space Society and Space Frontier Foundation announce the formation of the Alliance for Space Development February 25th, 2015

European roadmap for graphene science and technology published February 25th, 2015

Silicon Catalyst Announces Partnership With imec to Support Semiconductor Start-Ups February 23rd, 2015

KIT Increases Commitment in Asia: DAAD Funds Two New Projects: Strategic Partnerships with Chinese Universities and Communi-cation Technologies Network February 22nd, 2015

Research partnerships

Scientific breakthrough in rechargeable batteries: Researchers from Singapore and Québec Team Up to Develop Next-Generation Materials to Power Electronic Devices and Electric Vehicles February 28th, 2015

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

European roadmap for graphene science and technology published February 25th, 2015

KIT Increases Commitment in Asia: DAAD Funds Two New Projects: Strategic Partnerships with Chinese Universities and Communi-cation Technologies Network February 22nd, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE