If space, as Douglas Adams said, is mind-bogglingly big and the nanoscale is mind-bogglingly small, it seems incongruous to hear that Swiss scientists are going to use the latter, in the form of atomic force microscopy, to explore the former. Yet that's exactly what the team, led by Urs Staufer, an associate professor at the …
Thats a tiny AFM
I've had no less than 6 professors spend an hour lecturing about how AFM works, since the majority of the technology used in microscopes of that sort was invented about 300 yards from where I sit. They are complicated devices, and it is really amazing that they got one down to 250g. The resolution isn't that hot compared to what some can do these days, but still, they are incredably delicate, vibration sensitive, and large, so to build one that is tiny, fly to Mars, and operate on its own is a serious feat of engineering.
A new building opened up on campus recently and they had to move our $3m AFM into it. It took over a week just to get the pieces moved, and I believe it was supposed to cost about $100k. And they just had to move it next door.
Like using a match book, surely?
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