2020-07-02

The latest research results:finally break through the limitations of the optical microscope, see the electrons in the crystal atoms

By ddzyx

Visible light microscopy allows scientists to see tiny objects such as living cells. However, visible light microscopy cannot distinguish how electrons are distributed among atoms in a solid. Now, Professor Eleftherios Goulielmakis of the Extreme Photonics Laboratory of Rostock University and Max Planck Quantum Optics Institute, as well as from our Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences Colleagues of the Institute have developed a new optical microscope called Piccope, which overcomes this limitation, and its research results are published in the journal Nature.

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Researchers use a powerful laser flash to illuminate the thin film of crystal material, these laser pulses drive the crystal electrons Entering a fast swing motion, when electrons bounce off the surrounding electrons, they emit radiation in the extreme ultraviolet portion of the spectrum. By analyzing the characteristics of this radiation, the researchers synthesized some pictures that illustrate how the electron cloud is among the atoms in the solid lattice Distribution, the resolution is tens of picometers, which is one billionth of a millimeter. These experiments paved the way for a new class of laser-based microscopes.

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When the laser pulse penetrates inside the crystal, it can grab an electron and drive it to swing quickly. When the electronic moves, it will feel the surrounding space, just like people feel the rough road in the car. When electrons driven by a laser pass through bumps caused by other electrons or atoms, it decelerates and emits radiation at a much higher frequency than the laser. Hee-yong Kim, a PhD researcher at the Extreme Photonics Laboratory, said:By recording and analyzing the characteristics of this radiation, the shape of these tiny bumps can be inferred, and pictures showing high or low electron density in the crystal can be drawn.

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Laser Phi microscope combines the ability to peek at most substances (such as X-rays) and the ability to detect valence electrons , The latter can be achieved by scanning tunnel microscope, but only on the surface. The theoretical solid-state physicist Meng Sheng from the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, is a theoretical solid-state physicist in the research team. He said:There is a microscope that can detect the density of valence electrons. Benchmarking the performance of computing solid-state physical tools can be done quickly, and modern, state-of-the-art models can be optimized to predict the properties of materials with finer details.

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This is an exciting aspect brought about by laser microelectron microscopy. Now, researchers are further developing this technology. Detect three-dimensional electrons, and further benchmark the method with a wide range of materials, including two-dimensional and topological materials. Since laser lithography can be easily combined with time-resolved laser technology, it may soon be possible to record real images of electrons in materials, which is a long-term goal in ultrafast science and material microscopy.

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Bocade Park|Research/From:Rostock University/Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Reference periodical”Nature”

DOI:10.1038/s41586-020-2429-z

Bo Science Park|Science, Technology, scientific research, popular science

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