Scientists capture highest-resolution image of atoms

Scientists at Cornell University just released the highest-resolution images of atoms ever recorded in human history, 

The process of capturing the images involves the creation of a high-powered algorithm process called ptychography using an electron microscope. 

Researchers used ultra-thin samples of a crystal to capture the image. The samples used were only a few atoms thick. 

"Anything thicker would cause the electrons to scatter in ways that could not be disentangled," Cornell University researchers said. 

This process previously broke a world record in 2018 by magnifying images 100 million times. Researchers use the microscope to shoot a beam of electrons at an object which then bounces off to create a scan which is reverse engineered to create a visual sample. 


Image shows an electron ptychographic reconstruction of a crystal, zoomed in 100 million times. (Cornell University)

Cornell researchers say the resolution of the image is so "fine-tuned" that the blurring that is visible is that of the thermal jiggling of the atoms themselves. 

The photo was produced in a study led by engineering professor David Muller.

"This opens up a whole lot of new measurement possibilities of things we’ve wanted to do for a very long time," Muller said.