Maximilian Haider – Sharper electron microscopes (ceremony)


This puzzle in microscopy was about six decades
old. To solve this we needed a better lens. Using beams of lights has its limits. In order to really see small things we use
beams of electrons. For decades there was a problem: The images
from electron microscopes were about 100 times worse than the theoretical performance, while
we had the images out of focus. The problem itself was obvious, but the solution
proposed in 1948 was just a theory. No one knew how to build the right corrector:
a lens for electron beams. This was extremely motivating for me to take
on this challenging old puzzle. It was after midnight in June 1997, we were
working day and night because we were running out of money and time for our research. But that one night we achieved the breakthrough:
We got a sharp image even down to 1.2 Angstrom, about the size of an atom. Now we can really see atoms! We can see how they are moving and interacting
with each other. This was a tremendous moment for science – and
a very big moment for me. We immediately applied for a patent and we
established a company. Our correctors are today found in 90% of all
transmission electron microscopes around the world, producing sharper images in the atomic
range.

Michael Martin

1 Response

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