A team of researchers from the University of Newcastle led by Professor Paul Dastor has developed the SHeM scanning helium microscope. Its main difference from a conventional electron microscope is the use of beams of helium ions instead of electrons.
With its help, scientists will be able to study the organisms of people, animals, plants, pharmaceuticals and even computer chips without damaging them, or, as Professor Dastor says, "in their true state."
Each new type of microscopes has contributed to tremendous scientific advances, he said. Thanks to an optical microscope, it was possible to penetrate the world of bacteria. The electron microscope made nanotechnology available.
The capabilities of the helium scanning microscope have yet to be assessed.
According to Dastor and his colleagues, their invention will be of interest to specialists in the field of solar energy, information technology and the defense industry, in particular, in the production of explosives.
"We hope, " stressed the professor, "that with our invention we have paved the way for new discoveries, since our microscope gives a completely new understanding of structures at the microscopic level."