Atomic exploration as never before

Editorial

Rebecca Pool

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 14:00
Image: Atomic-level landscapes delivered by nVisible [Nanotronics]
 
US-based Nanotronics Imaging has unveiled a new system - nVisible - that lets the user 'walk through' a 3D visualisation of a microscopic landscape while wearing a virtual reality headset.
 
Operating with existing 3D images generated by nSpec 3D microscope - also developed by Nanotronics for rapid topography measurements - the system offers a novel route to exploring and manipulating materials at the molecular level.
 
Virtual tour on the surface of a nanocomposite [Nanotronics].
 
"Science is at the cusp of a new industrial revolution where the ability to understand the world at nanoscale will enable radical advancements across numerous industries,” says Matthew Putman, chief executive of Nanotronics.
 
"With nVisible we are turning 3D microscopic visualizations into exploratory, interactive content that will allow researchers, technicians, and scientists an experimental way to gather insights and collaborate at the atomic level,” he adds.
 
nSpec 3D integrates optics with computer vision algorithms and artificial intelligence to create nanoscale 3D images of a material's atomic structure.
 
nSpec 3D is an automated, rapid optical microscope that provides surface topographies and quantitative roughness measurements.
 
When used with nVisible, users can virtually walk through the surface of a structure, tagging and manipulating features.
 
The company has produced a short film, premiering at the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, that is described as taking the viewer deep into the nano-world, zooming from a visible examination of a moth's wing down to its atomic structure.
 
“The ongoing revolution in nanoscale engineering is transforming our lives: Every chip in every cell phone is a product of nanotechnology," highlights company board advisor and academic visitor at the University of Oxford, UK, Eric Drexler.
 
"To make progress in this realm, scientists and engineers must be able to see what they are doing," he says. "Nanotronics is pushing forward the necessary state of the art and bringing new capabilities to industry and research labs around the world."
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