Cambridge unveils UK's most powerful microscope

The most powerful electron microscope in the UK has been unveiled at the University of Cambridge by the minister for universities and science, David Willetts
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

The University of Cambridge has unveiled a microscope with a resolution that will allow researchers to examine objects a million times smaller than the width of a human hair.

The FEI Titan 3 Electron Microscope has a resolution of less than 0.7 Angstroms, and it will be used in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research, along with a project examining how water can be purified using special ultraviolet lights. An Angstrom is equivalent to 0.1 nanometre.

"This atom-resolving microscope will be used to help solve some of the most important problems facing our world today: for example, shortages of energy and drinkable water," said Professor Sir Colin Humphreys, director of research in the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge, in a statement on Friday.

Regarding Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease research, the microscope will examine plaques — nanometre-wide, insoluble, misfolded proteins, which collect in the brain and are seen by many scientists as having a decisive role in the nature of the conditions.

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