Cornell's Duffield Hall has acquired a new electron microscope that is enabling scientists to see individual atoms in color for the very first time. While old electron microscopes can be compared to black and white cameras, this new scanning transmission electron microscope uses a new aberration-correction technology that is both more intense and allows for faster imaging speed. "The method also can show how atoms are bonded to one another in a crystal, because the bonding creates small shifts in the energy signatures. In earlier STEMs, many electrons from the beam, including those with changed energies, were scattered at wide angles by simple collisions with atoms. The new STEM includes magnetic lenses that collect emerging electrons over a wider angle. Previously, Silcox said, about 8 percent of the emerging electrons were collected, but the new detector collects about 80 percent, allowing more accurate readings of the small changes in energy levels that reveal bonding between atoms."
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