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Proton microscopes

  1. Dec 17, 2005 #1
    if the reason electron microscopes work so effectively is because of the electrons small wavelength, why not use a proton (or neutron) microscope instead? a proton's wavelength is about 10,000 times smaller than an electrons...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2005 #2
    In general the characteristic wavelength of the probe one uses has to be of the order of the characteristic dimensions of the system. There's a bunch of other reasons too like that electrons are much easier to produce and so on.
     
  4. Dec 18, 2005 #3
    well then forget protons, you could use alpha particles.
     
  5. Dec 18, 2005 #4
    What use would that be? Alphas are even more massive and therefore even less suitable for the study of matter at the length scale electron microscopes probe.
     
  6. Dec 18, 2005 #5
    but we would be able to focus better, to distinguish two objects from each other better.
     
  7. Jan 8, 2006 #6
    You are absolutly correct Michael. The problem is that an ion microscope is much harder to design than the electron microscope but these hurdles have recently been overcome and you can expect to see the worlds first scanning helium ion microscope sometime in June 06. I have seen the prototype in operation and the improvement over the SEM is amazing. It's not just the resolution that's impressive it's the material contrast. For more info check out the following articles.

    http://www.eet.com/news/design/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=165700941

    http://www.aliscorporation.com/
     
  8. Jan 8, 2006 #7
    Thanks for those links kawikdx225
     
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