Image (detail) Credit: Saw Wai Hla

Technology USA15. June 2023

First-Ever X-Ray of an Atom, a Revolutionary Feat

The field of chemistry reached a new level with the world’s first X-ray of a single atom to characterize it, a feat that could revolutionize the world of science and further advanced technologies and medical research.

“We can now detect exactly the type of a particular atom, one atom-at-a-time, and can simultaneously measure its chemical state,” explains senior author Professor Saw Wai Hla. “This will have a great impact on environmental and medical sciences and maybe even find a cure that can have a huge impact for humankind. This discovery will transform the world.”

Two different types of atoms – one of iron and the other of terbium – were distinguished, and their chemical behavior was studied. While the terbium atom, an element part of the so-called rare-earth metals, doesn’t change its chemical state, the iron atom strongly interacts with its surrounding. The signal that the detector captured is compared to fingerprints, helping to understand the unique composition of a sample and study its chemical and physical properties. X-ray science and nanoscale studies could revolutionize research, and help develop new technologies such as quantum information.


:::::: Related Articles

Back to top button