World’s most powerful microscope turns Canada into nanotech hub

October 25th, 2008 - 9:54 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Oct 25 (IANS) Canada’s famous McMaster University at Hamilton near here is set to become the world leader in nanotechnology with the installation of the world’s most advanced and powerful electron microscope.The Titan 80-300 Cubed, installed last summer, has turned the world famous university into a global nanotechnology research.

Built by the world nanotech leader FEI Company in the Netherlands at a cost of $15 million, the Titan can examine at the nano level hundreds of everyday products in order to understand, manipulate and improve their efficiency.

It will be used to help produce more efficient lighting and better solar cells, study proteins and drug-delivery materials to target cancers.

The instrument will also be used to assess atmospheric particulates, and help create lighter and stronger automotive materials, more effective cosmetics, and higher density memory storage for faster electronic and telecommunication devices, a university statement said.

“It (the microscope) is the equivalent of taking the Hubble Telescope and aiming it at the atomic level rather than at stars and galaxies,” Gianluigi Botton, director of the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy at McMaster, said of the world’s most powerful microscope.

“We are certainly the first university in the world with a microscope of such a high calibre,” he said.

“With this microscope we can now easily identify atoms, measure their chemical state and even probe the electrons that bind them together.”

McMaster University vice-president Mo Elbestawi said the power of the microscope has turned the university a global hub for the fast growing field of nanotechnology.

“The addition of the Titan 80-300 Cubed to the Centre’s suite of microscopy instruments that include a Titan cryo-in situ solidifies Ontario’s and Canada’s lead in nanotechnology, and places us among the world’s most advanced materials research institutions,” said Elbestawi.

University dean John Capone said, “This particular instrument will enable many new discoveries in the areas of fundamental biological and physical sciences that will help us to better understand the nature of diseases and the development of new cures.”

Added David Wilkinson, dean of engineering, “The Titan’s ability to probe the structure of solid materials to the atomic level will have an impact on the development and commercialization of new technologies from biomedical devices to water quality monitoring and improved energy storage systems.

“McMaster is committed to applying advanced research tools such as the Titan to the needs of our industrial partners, strengthening their ability to innovate and to compete globally.”

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