A new GBP half million microscope capable of looking at objects only slightly bigger than an atom has been officially unveiled at the University of Aberdeen. The scanning electron microscope is one of the best in Scotland and works using electrons instead of light.
It can be used to scan everything from rocks and metal to fungi and archaeological artefacts, magnifying them up to a million times.
There are a number of different detectors on the microscope. Several are used for high-resolution imaging at the scale of millimetres to nanometres which can be used, for example, to image the eyes of flies, or grains of sand in sandstone.
Housed in a new facility called the Aberdeen Centre for Electron Microscopy, Analysis and Characterisation (ACEMAC), the microscope is supported by technicians who are highly skilled in both physical science applications, including geosciences, engineering and chemistry, as well as the biosciences and biomedical research.
As a teaching resource, it is possible to transmit live scans remotely to lecture theatres, allowing students a fully interactive experience.