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Eureka: study shows 3D location of 23,000 atoms

Feb 07, 2017, 5:26 AM EST
(Source: Robert Couse-Baker/flickr)
(Source: Robert Couse-Baker/flickr)

In a major technological breakthrough, a team of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and U.C.L.A. has seen the exact locations of more than 23,000 atoms, a development that holds the potential to revolutionize material science, particularly at nano-scale.

Explaining the significance of such an achievement, Michael Farle, a physicist at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, says the ability to ascertain the accurate position of particles at the smallest scale opens the possibility to dramatically alter their properties like the response to magnetic fields, reports Seeker.

In the future, this knowledge of particle’s exact position might allow development of nanometer-size, near-perfect crystals that can be easily magnetized for applications such as hard drives, writes Live Science. Lead researcher Peter Ercius says, “What's so good about this is it measures disorder. It lets you see unique objects.”

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