According to Scientific American, physicists have outdone Apple’s newest iPhone by taking the most detailed image of atoms to date using a gadget that magnifies images 100 million times. In a study released last month, the researchers that broke the record for the highest resolution microscope in 2018 outdid themselves.
The sample was visualised using an approach known as electron ptychography, in which an electron beam is fired at an object and bounces off of it to produce a scan that algorithms use to reverse engineer the above image. This technique was previously limited to imaging things that were a few atoms thick.
But the new study lays out a technique that can image samples 30 to 50 nanometers wide—a more than 10-fold increase in resolution, they report in Science. The breakthrough could help develop more efficient electronics and batteries, a process that requires visualizing components on the atomic level.