Researchers Set World Record for Image Resolution Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have pushed back the barrier of how small we can see to a record, atom-scale 0.6 angstrom, over 100,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. NPR's Michele Norris talks with physicist Stephen J. Pennycook about the microscopic breakthrough.
NPR logo

Researchers Set World Record for Image Resolution

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/3929860/3929999" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Researchers Set World Record for Image Resolution

Researchers Set World Record for Image Resolution

Researchers Set World Record for Image Resolution

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/3929860/3929999" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Looking straight down on a silicon crystal, this direct, subangstrom resolution image shows dumbbell-shaped rows of atoms. ORNL hide caption

toggle caption
ORNL

Looking straight down on a silicon crystal, this direct, subangstrom resolution image shows dumbbell-shaped rows of atoms. ORNL hide caption

toggle caption
ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have pushed back the barrier of how small we can see — to a record, atom-scale 0.6 angstrom. The Energy Department's national laboratory also held the previous record at 0.7 angstrom.

In a Sept. 17 article in the journal Science, Stephen J. Pennycook, senior physicist at the lab's Condensed Matter Science Division, and his colleagues wrote that they achieved the 0.6-angstrom image resolution using a state-of-the-art electron microscope and new computerized imaging technology.

An angstrom is about 100,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair.

NPR's Michele Norris talks with Pennycook about the microscopic breakthrough.