Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 


Grant from the Moore Foundation for the development of a non-invasive Quantum Electron Microscope

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to support a variety of projects – from advancing environmental research and patient care to high impact fundamental research.

Among this year’s selected projects is the development of a quantum electron microscope, an instrument which would mean a big step for the investigation of biological samples.

Three groups will work on this project in a coordinated effort: the “Ultrafast Quantum Optics” group under the leadership of Professor Hommelhoff at the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching (Germany, near Munich) and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, a team of scientists at Stanford University (Stanford, USA), and another one at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Boston, USA).

Each group will receive financial support of 1.145 million dollars (roughly one million Euro) over a period of 40 months. The basic idea of this measurement principle is closely related to the pioneering work that has been awarded with this year’s Nobel Prize in physics, the work of Prof. Serge Haroche (Collège de France, Paris).

Electrons do not only behave like electrically charged particles but also show wavelike properties, as has been known for about a hundred years. At sufficiently high energies their so-called de Broglie wavelength lies in the nanometre to picometre range (10-9 to10-12 m). This makes free electrons extremely well suited for the imaging of biological structures, where a resolution on the atomic or molecular scale is reached.

Hence, electron microscopes are by now a standard tool in research as well as in technical applications. The catch downside of this method, however, is the high radiation dose applied to the sample that can damage its structure. For example, the dose consumed in the process of taking one single image is equivalent to the dose the cell would receive by a nuclear bomb explosion that takes place in a distance of less than 50 metres.

The scientists aim at avoiding this problem by applying interaction-free quantum measurements. The basic concept of this principle has been described for photons more than 20 years ago. It is generally assumed that the state of a quantum object gets altered or even destroyed as a consequence of its determination. The new principle puts this assumption “upside down”: it is not the state of the object which gets disturbed; instead, the quantum properties of the observer are influenced by the mere presence of the object. The concept was experimentally realized in the team of Prof. Serge Haroche. The group used microwave resonators whose resonance conditions get changed if a single atom is trapped inside. Hence, the transparency or opaqueness of the resonator gives information about the presence of the atom – without destroying its quantum state, because the object does not interact directly with the photons.

Now the plan is to extend this principle of interaction-free quantum measurement to the use of free electrons. Here, the electron beam will not be launched directly onto the sample surface, as in a conventional electron microscope. Instead, the information on the properties of the sample will be deduced from the influence the object has on the quantum properties of the electrons, in analogy to the effect the atom mentioned above has on the optical properties of the resonator. Such an electron resonator could, for example, be made from two ring-like traps for free electrons arranged on top of each other in a short distance. An electron which circulates in the upper ring is, according to quantum mechanics, allowed to tunnel to the lower ring with a certain probability, and tunnel back, and so on. But once an opaque object is inserted into the lower ring – for example a biological sample stained with gold particles – these oscillations get stopped.

“Our first step will be to demonstrate that the interaction-free quantum measurement principle indeed works with electrons. We have already accomplished some of the most important technical requirements – wave guide structures for the controlled steering and manipulation of the quantum properties of electrons,” Prof. Peter Hommelhoff explains. “The development of a microscope that will image biological samples non-invasively and with high resolution will be the next step. Such a quantum electron microscope would reduce the radiation dose consumed in the sample by a lot, thereby avoiding the damage of its structure. It would be a truly fascinating goal to make movies from living cells with the new device – with the spatial resolution of an electron microscope.”

Prof. Peter Hommelhoff
Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics
Hans-Kopfermann-Straße 1
85748 Garching
Phone: +49 89 32905 265

Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng | Max-Planck-Institut
Weitere Informationen:

Weitere Nachrichten aus der Kategorie Förderungen Preise:

nachricht Intelligente Werkstoffe erforschen
18.11.2019 | Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung

nachricht dormakaba mit 4 Architects' Darling in Gold ausgezeichnet
13.11.2019 | dormakaba Deutschland GmbH

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Förderungen Preise >>>

Die aktuellsten Pressemeldungen zum Suchbegriff Innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Atome hüpfen nicht gerne Seil

Nanooptische Fallen sind ein vielversprechender Baustein für Quantentechnologien. Forscher aus Österreich und Deutschland haben nun ein wichtiges Hindernis für deren praktischen Einsatz aus dem Weg geräumt. Sie konnten zeigen, dass eine besondere Form von mechanischen Vibrationen gefangene Teilchen in kürzester Zeit aufheizt und aus der Falle stößt.

Mit der Kontrolle einzelner Atome können Quanteneigenschaften erforscht und für technologische Anwendungen nutzbar gemacht werden. Seit rund zehn Jahren...

Im Focus: Der direkte Weg zur Phosphorverbindung: Regensburger Chemiker entwickeln Katalysemethode

Wissenschaftler finden effizientere und umweltfreundlichere Methode, um Produkte ohne Zwischenstufen aus weißem Phosphor herzustellen.

Pflanzenschutzmittel, Dünger, Extraktions- oder Schmiermittel – Phosphorverbindungen sind aus vielen Mitteln für den Alltag und die Industrie nicht...

Im Focus: Atoms don't like jumping rope

Nanooptical traps are a promising building block for quantum technologies. Austrian and German scientists have now removed an important obstacle to their practical use. They were able to show that a special form of mechanical vibration heats trapped particles in a very short time and knocks them out of the trap.

By controlling individual atoms, quantum properties can be investigated and made usable for technological applications. For about ten years, physicists have...

Im Focus: Neu entwickeltes Glas ist biegsam

Eine internationale Forschungsgruppe mit Beteiligung der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften hat ein Glasmaterial entwickelt, das sich bei Raumtemperatur bruchfrei verformen lässt. Das berichtet das Team aktuell in "Science". Das extrem harte und zugleich leichte Material verspricht ein großes Anwendungspotential – von Smartphone-Displays bis hin zum Maschinenbau.

Gläser sind ein wesentlicher Bestandteil der modernen Welt. Dabei handelt es sich im Alltag meist um sauerstoffhaltige Gläser, wie sie etwa für Fenster und...

Im Focus: Images from NJIT's big bear solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery

An international team of scientists, including three researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the Sun is transferred to the star's upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the Sun's surface.

With new images from NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), the researchers have revealed in groundbreaking, granular detail what appears to be a likely...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>



Industrie & Wirtschaft

Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2020: „Mach es einfach!“

18.11.2019 | Veranstaltungen

Humanoide Roboter in Aktion erleben

18.11.2019 | Veranstaltungen

1. Internationale Konferenz zu Agrophotovoltaik im August 2020

15.11.2019 | Veranstaltungen

Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Atome hüpfen nicht gerne Seil

19.11.2019 | Physik Astronomie

Bildoptimierung von Videosequenzen mit hohem Dynamikbereich

19.11.2019 | Kommunikation Medien

Klimaneutrale Energieversorgung der Zukunft

19.11.2019 | Energie und Elektrotechnik

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics