IBM microscope 100 million times stronger than MRI

New technology is capable of imaging biological material as small as just a few nanometers across.

According to IBM Research: 'An ultrasensitive silicon cantilever detects the tiny magnetic force between a nanoscale magnetic tip--green--and the hydrogen nuclei present in the virus particles placed at the end of the cantilever--blue, seen in the reflection. Nanoscale magnetic resonance imaging is achieved by manipulating the hydrogen nuclei in the sample with a radiofrequency magnetic field generated by a 'microwire'--red.'' IBM Research

IBM Research has built a new nanoscale microscope capable of creating images with 100 million times finer resolution than existing MRI technology.

The breakthrough, announced Monday, was made possible through a process called magnetic resonance force microscopy, which, according to IBM, detects "ultra-small magnetic forces." The technique is said to be able to "see" beneath surfaces and be safe for sensitive biological materials.

IBM said that it ran a test using the new system that established for the first time, magnetic resonance imaging on nanometer-scale items. By running it on a tobacco mosaic virus that is 18 nanometers across--18 billionths of a meter--the new system achieved resolution down to 4 nanometers.

Here is a link to a YouTube video about the technology.

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Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.

 

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