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A microscope that sees with helium

The University of Cambridge and the University of Newcastle are jointly developing a scanning helium microscope, or SHeM. They have invented a new microscope that takes images using neutral helium atoms instead of light or electrons. Helium atoms carry much less energy than photons or electrons traditionally used in a regular electron microscope. They are also electrically neutral and chemically inert, so in addition to not battering samples with energy, they won’t interact with them electrically or chemically.

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