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Can Our Eyes See Objects in the Nanoscale?

  1. Nov 12, 2014 #1
    If so, what are some examples? If not, what is the smallest thing our eyes can see?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2014 #2

    Nugatory

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    As with all questions of this sort, you will get better and more helpful answers if you research the question a bit yourself first. Google for "smallest object we can see", then come back here with any more specific questions you still have.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=765735
     
  4. Nov 13, 2014 #3
    To see something requires light to be reflected by it. Light is reflected by causing charges to oscillate.

    I would say that you cannot reflect light off of anything smaller than an electron, because I think that an electron is the smallest charged particle.
     
  5. Nov 13, 2014 #4

    sophiecentaur

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    It's worth noting that visible light has a range of wavelengths of about 400 to 900nm. An object that is much smaller than one wavelength will not reflect or obstruct / scatter much of the light because of the diffraction pattern. Seeing would be progressively harder an harder but there is not a simple 'cut-off' As has already been written, it would be best to read around before pursuing this thread further.
     
  6. Nov 13, 2014 #5

    davenn

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    With or without a microscope or other optical/electronic aid ??

    there's a huge difference
     
  7. Nov 14, 2014 #6

    sophiecentaur

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    Optical instruments can help but there are fundamental limitations. Which is where the Electron Microscope comes in handy.
     
  8. Nov 14, 2014 #7

    davenn

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    yup which was why I said optical/electronic ;)

    The OP's Q was very vague, just trying to find out what he / she really meant

    Dave
     
  9. Nov 14, 2014 #8

    sophiecentaur

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    No response from the OP yet. Perhaps we should wait, instead of talking amongst ourselves. :)
     
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