×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Nano-Viewing Record Broken

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the squint-really-hard dept.

Science 65

smitty777 writes "Wired magazine reports on a new nanoviewing lens that is capable of viewing objects less than 100 nm across. Rather than attempting to use a 'perfect' lens, this technology uses a porous surface that actually scatters the light. By measuring how it is scattered and setting up lasers to compensate, they're able to 'steer' the light back to the right spot. The abstract from the Physical Review Letters reads: 'The smallest structures that conventional lenses are able to optically resolve are of the order of 200 nm. We introduce a new type of lens that exploits multiple scattering of light to generate a scanning nanosized optical focus. With an experimental realization of this lens in gallium phosphide we imaged gold nanoparticles at 97 nm optical resolution. Our work is the first lens that provides a resolution better than 100 nm at visible wavelengths.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

65 comments

WELL SO FIX IT AND QUIT YUR WHINING !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36194334)

Damn snobs always whining about something stupid !!

Re:WELL SO FIX IT AND QUIT YUR WHINING !! (0)

Onuma (947856) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194360)

Don't be mad. Now at least you can find your penis with this lens.

Re:WELL SO FIX IT AND QUIT YUR WHINING !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36194432)

Oh, sure, you talk like it's so easy, but have you ever TRIED to fix a broken record? All you end up with is a piece of crap that constantly skips and repeats endlessly. It's even worse than trying to play a scratched one.

Hence the origin of the phrase "broken record".

(yes very offtopic, going for funny...)

longest period in history of avoiding the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36194392)

just an estimate. the textbook record is 1000 years, of darkness/absence of truth. yuk.

100nm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36194412)

100nm? So that's what? 100 times the length of Taco's penis?

Re:100nm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36194446)

I'm just curious - is this really, actually, funny to anyone? At all? Hello?

>crickets.mp3

Re:100nm? (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194490)

I'm sure Slashdot has its share of 14-year olds just like any other site...

Re:100nm? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194508)

I'm pretty sure I didn't consider that funny at that age either.

Re:100nm? (2)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195236)

Me neither, but kids these days!

Re:100nm? (4, Funny)

smelch (1988698) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195450)

The funny lies within the fact that it is so immature. You laugh at the person saying it, not the person it is said about. Even then its still not funny, but every once in a while a joke like this would be somewhat amusing:

A marine and a zealot walk in to a bar and take their seats. The marine looks to his left, then looks to his right. Taco has a tiny penis.

Re:100nm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36197542)

Bravo! Meta-troll.

Anyone with more knowledge care to explain? (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194512)

Can someone in the know help interpret the article? Is this an engineering breakthrough or a scientific breakthrough? From my understanding the wavelength of light is a physical limitation to optically viewing small objects. Does this somehow provide us a way to go beyond that limit or is this simply getting closer to it?

Re:Anyone with more knowledge care to explain? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194554)

"Our work is the first lens that provides a resolution better than 100 nm at visible wavelengths."

Emphasis added. The wavelength of visible light ranges between somewhere around 400-800 nm (round numbers). Apparently they've smashed that limitation rather impressively.

Re:Anyone with more knowledge care to explain? (4, Informative)

Muerte23 (178626) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194568)

You can download the article from Arxiv for free here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1103.3643

Basically, the imaging resolution of a lens (typically) has to do with its numerical aperture (NA). A small lens far away has terrible resolution, and vice-versa. The trouble with really high NA lenses is that they are hard to make without distortions. It's easy to make spherical shapes, but aptly named spherical distortion starts to ruin your image once the NA gets high. So what they've done is taken a ground glass surface and put it really close to the object, so that the "scattering lens" subtends close to 2pi steradians. Then they use a spatial light modulator (transmissive LCD screen) to control the phase of their laser beam across many domains to sort of pick out the random scattering elements on the frosted screen that give them the best image. Sort of. There is much additional trickery, but I think that's the jist of it.

Re:Anyone with more knowledge care to explain? (1)

Fauxbo (1393095) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195002)

So what they've done is taken a ground glass surface and put it really close to the object, so that the "scattering lens" subtends close to 2pi steradians. Then they use a spatial light modulator...

Ooooh yeah... that makes sense now.

Yes, it is rubbish (2)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#36196494)

First off physics says this is rubbish. They just re-invented super-resolution enhancement of point sources.

First you need to know why a "perfect" lens is special. When light leaves a small region the shape of the wavefront can be described in a Fourier transform sense as a set of plane waves with various K vectors. Now it turns out that not all K-vectors can propagate to the far field. Ones with K-vectors greater than the reciprocal wavelength simply decay a short distance from the source and never reach the far field.

Thus if you are in the far field and were to time-reverse all the wavefronts you recieved then it would back-propagate to the source but the phase front when it reached the source position will be a blurred version of the source. This is because it's missing all those critical K-vectors. This cannot be replaced because you simply did not know what amplitudes and phases they had.

A perfect lens is special because it captures those decaying k-vectors and effectively (resonantly to conserve energy) amplifies them. You can thus detect this formerly missing information. Therefore you can resolve the sub-wavelength features at full resolution.

SO there's the issue. what they claim is fundamentally not possible. They are claiming they can reconstruct the missing k-vectors. they can't. without nearfield imaging or a perfect lens, physics says those are bye-bye.

But you can "fake" it. this is called super-resolution. If you know something about the source. for example, that it's a point source or collection of isolated point sources then you can impose that information on the data to find the mathematical reconstruction of the image consistent with that information. Thus you can compute the missing K-vectors.

That cannot be done if the thing you are imaging is arbitrary. You have to know something to make up the missing information. It may be that this information is small: e.g. maybe you know the surface is not multi-scattering in depth or you know something about the derivative of the surface curvature or you know something about how it reflects different colors.

But this is "super resolution" enhancement not actual imaging. And that has been done for a long time before this.

Re:Yes, it is rubbish (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#36197142)

They are claiming they can reconstruct the missing k-vectors. they can't.

That's not what they're claiming.

If you know something about the source...

They do, after the "first pass", and adjust the lasers accordingly.

That cannot be done if the thing you are imaging is arbitrary.

It can, it just can't be done instantaneously.

You have to know something to make up the missing information.

...and you can determine information in the "first pass". Since this is essentially a kind of adaptive optics, you can start with something arbitrary, but end up knowing a lot about what you're imaging, and using that information to adjust the lens or light to reveal further information.

Re:Yes, it is rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36206274)

wrong

Re:Yes, it is rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36238170)

They are claiming they can reconstruct the missing k-vectors. they can't.

That's not what they're claiming.

If you know something about the source...

They do, after the "first pass", and adjust the lasers accordingly.

That cannot be done if the thing you are imaging is arbitrary.

It can, it just can't be done instantaneously.

You have to know something to make up the missing information.

...and you can determine information in the "first pass". Since this is essentially a kind of adaptive optics, you can start with something arbitrary, but end up knowing a lot about what you're imaging, and using that information to adjust the lens or light to reveal further information.

I'm impressed you contradict yourself in such a few sentences. First you say they are not claiming to know the missing K vectors. Then you wave your hands to mystically explain how they reconstruct them.

These are not the K-vectors you are looking for.

The argument is simple. you can't get high resolution without the missing spatial frequencies. If you can't determine them then you can't resolve the image in the arbitrary case. So it's one or the other. The GP argued by physics that the high spatial frequencies could not be gathered by any means short of a nearfield lens (which is what perfect lenses do too). That information is not present in the far filed light. No matter what tricks you use to gather the light in the far field you will never be able to measure this information.

Re:Yes, it is rubbish (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#36198226)

"But you can "fake" it. this is called super-resolution."

No, it's called interpolation.

Re:Yes, it is rubbish (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#36206278)

Interpolation is faking it. Interpolation is just assuming a cap on a derivative. It's an assumption. Perhaps a good one but it's not imaging.

Re:Anyone with more knowledge care to explain? (1)

Morty (32057) | more than 2 years ago | (#36202452)

Is this an engineering breakthrough or a scientific breakthrough?

Engineering breakthrough. They have a new technique for getting close to the theoretical limits without changing the theoretical limits. That's engineering.

Yes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36194520)

Now all you liberal turds can find your wee-wees! :)

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36195218)

Just as soon as they can find the IQ of the conservatives. I heard it's etched on the side of the electron in a hydrogen atom.

theoretically it.s 0.0001^10 -50e but we don't want to assume and get it wrong it could be higher than that. but from judging by the SMARTEST conservatives, It's probably accurate.

Anyways, Who said the new nintendo console was going to be as small as a Conservatives penis? That would explain why all you low IQ types drive SUV's with truck nuts... Compensating hard there...

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36195576)

Why don't you calm down, have a seat over there, eat another tofu burger and shut the fuck up to let all that natural estrogen in the soy do its work. Then you can tell me about "compensating".

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36198886)

How about the bankers and traders compensate the American Ppl for the crash they caused by shorting the toxic assets they talked up while selling them?

Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (2)

TheDarAve (513675) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194522)

Wait wait wait... How are you able to get "visible wavelengths" from something that would only be the size of something deep in the Ultraviolet range on the electromagnetic spectrum?

Serious question here, as I'd like to know if this means they're looking at quarterwave light or what...

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (3, Interesting)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194596)

In simple terms, I think they're carefully aligning the incoming photons.

It's like trying to hit a target with a bullet that travels along a sine wave; you have to determine its phase at the point where it hits the target to figure out where it will end up.

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (2)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194788)

I think you're mixing up the length of a wave period with the amplitude (size) of the wave vs. size of objects.

Remember that light is made of photons, which are much much smaller than 1 nm. It's a quantum particle.

So even if something is somewhat smaller than the visible wave length, it will still reflect these waves, although it probably will cause diffraction...

I may be wrong, I don't grasp the wave functions very well...

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194812)

It does cause diffraction, and that's the killer; when you enlarge it, you just enlarge the diffraction pattern.

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (1)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195042)

What about this? [wikipedia.org]

I'd interpret the fact that we see the laser through the atmosphere as "seeing" the particles in the air, even though I can't make out their form since they're so small. I think it's safe to suppose that those particles are much smaller than the wavelength of the laser itself.

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195288)

"Seeing" would seem to imply the photon had "bounced off" of them, though, when in actuality it's more like it's slingshotted around them without actually touching them.

Of course at the atomic level there's truly no difference between the two because, regardless of the size of the object, a photon will almost never actually touch a particle of mass - on the atomic level everything is pretty much just open space filled with electromagnetic fields.

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (1)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195672)

That deviates from the original question a bit, but if the photon never "touches" a particle, what about black body radiation? Or are you only referring to reflection/diffraction/etc when you say that photons almost never touch a particle of mass?

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195262)

As shown in the photos.. you can see the diffraction pattern.

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (3, Informative)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195178)

Remember that light is made of photons, which are much much smaller than 1 nm. It's a quantum particle.

It's not as simple as that. In the double-slit experiment, which gives an interference pattern even if you fire one photon at a time, the photon is influenced by both slits (several hundred nm apart or more). If you cover one slit, the interference disappears.

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36194854)

Radio wavelength emmited by mobile phone is about 30cm, but it's quite clear that intensity varies greatly near the surface. You can measure the 3-dimentional field and do something useful with it, for example estimate SAR.

The same thing is with nanoparticles and light, but wavelength is much smaller.

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195242)

Which begs the question, why are they bothering with visible light at all? let's go really really deep UV and get a decent image. And why cant we use really low power Xrays or Gamma rays to do imaging without damaging the itty bitty virii?

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (2)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195540)

And why cant we use really low power Xrays or Gamma rays to do imaging without damaging the itty bitty virii?

You sort of answered your own question, there...

4 possibilities: reflect, refract, transmit, absorb. There's a fundamental difference between a microscope that illuminates the sample from above/beside (you see mostly reflected light) and one that illuminates it from below (you see mostly transmitted light and a little refracted light).

Different stuff reacts differently to different wavelengths, and the "absorb" thing tends to cook the sample. Visible light tends to reflect better. X-rays tend to absorb. That's why when they shoot you with x-rays, they shoot through you... the film grabs what made it through. Very little is reflected (though still enough that the lab tech goes and hides behind a lead wall).

And in general, the more light you use, the better image you get. Using a really low-power light source just means you get a really grainy, lousy picture. You can't turn up the power to get a decent picture or you cook the sample. Hence... it'd be nice if you could use light with a longer wavelength, since less of it will be absorbed.

Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (1)

sxeraverx (962068) | more than 2 years ago | (#36198114)

Also, diffract:

At the atomic level, x-rays at the right wavelength diffract around atoms (really, at that level, it's "electron clouds"), and you can use the diffraction pattern to estimate the localized density of the electron clouds, in an attempt to figure out what atoms go where (heavier atoms have heavier electron clouds). However, hydrogen atoms (protons) also tend to form a sort of cloud, but that's more of a physics limitation then a measurement one. And yes, the sample does "cook" in the process, often quite thoroughly.

My point is, the reflective/refractive/absorptive/transmissive/diffractive behavior of light doesn't depend on the frequency of the light. It depends on the characteristics of a given material for that frequency of light. That's where you get color from, incidentally.

Curiousity. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36194542)

Just curious, hope someone knows. How are they able to make transistors that are 32nm when they can only see 100nm? How do they verify?

Re:Curiousity. (2)

TheDarAve (513675) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194638)

There's a difference between an optical lens, which this is supposed to be, and an electronic lens like what you can find in specialized microscopes. Quoting from Wikipedia:
"An electron microscope is a type of microscope that uses a particle beam of electrons to illuminate the specimen and produce a magnified image. Electron microscopes (EM) have a greater resolving power than a light-powered optical microscope, because electrons have wavelengths about 100,000 times shorter than visible light (photons), and can achieve better than 50 pm resolution[1] and magnifications of up to about 10,000,000x, whereas ordinary, non-confocal light microscopes are limited by diffraction to about 200 nm resolution and useful magnifications below 2000x."

Re:Curiousity. (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194826)

diffrence between methods of viewing - this is looking at the visible light spectrum.. we can get greater or at 1 atom resolution with electron scanning microscopes.

My question is (1)

cyberfin (1454265) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194664)

does this mean that if we achieve a tighter concentration of pores on the lens we will achieve gradually smaller scales?

Re:My question is (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194732)

Perhaps, but personally I'd assume it would be more limited by their ability to control the laser with the needed degree of precision.

What record was broken, a bluray? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#36194676)

What record was broken, a bluray disk? That was how I first read the title, confusing record with some disk.

Interesting, but not a "Nano-Viewing Record" (2)

doomsday_device (1063146) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195264)

SNOM (Scanning Near-field scanning optical microscopes) can easily resolve images at 100 nm at visible wavelengths and have done so for some years now. You can actually buy these microscopes commercially. I'm sure this new method is better than SNOM in some regard, or has the potential to be, but the resolution they achieved is not really a "Nano Viewing Record". More a lens building record.

Non-optical methods like scanning force microscopy have resolved far better than that for years now, of course. Albeit without the ability do do spectroscopic measurements.

Interesting approach though.

I'm so glad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36195536)

With this, maybe I'll be able to see my penis.

Maybe not so great (1)

qqe0312 (1350695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36195848)

So, the sample must sit on a very narrow area on the plate with the diffuser. Mah looks like we did not break free from the real limitations then. If we could do this in the middle of a cell, that may be something. The point they make is that you can use this diffuser as a - perfect- lens because one can compensate the phase distortion really well. The image they get is in resolution close to the theoretical wave limit. The surprise is that this works better than the classical approach of making optics: trying to fight off spherical aberration by making good multi-element lenses. So, nice job compensating. But that's it The sample still needs to sit on a small confined are on their plate. There are other techniques that will show the sample with visible light with way more resolution, in particular Scanning Near Field Optical Microscopy will go down to a few nm! So, in my opinion nice work, good prank, but way way over sold. This would have done nice in optics express but seems out of place in Phys Ref letters.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...