Researchers from two US universities have jointly created an X-ray machine that takes X-ray images from a single atom.

Researchers from Ohio State University and the University of Chicago have made a breakthrough. Scientists managed to create the world’s first X-ray image of a single atom. Scientific publication about it is nature appeared in its columns.

X-rays have been used in many fields since their discovery in the nineteenth century. Because of their imaging capabilities, they can also be used in medicine, materials research, archaeology, and astrophysics. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that has high energy and short wavelengths.

However, its traditional use relied on the fact that the atoms of the X-ray material interacted with the rays, thus generating a detectable signal. For a single atom, the signal produced by the atom is weak and difficult to distinguish from background noise.

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The smallest X-ray substance to date should consist of 10,000 atoms, which clearly shows how serious the result achieved by American scientists. As is Interesting geometry He also writes, All of this could revolutionize material discovery.




The researchers selected an atom of iron and terbium for X-rays. Conventional detectors have been integrated with a scanning tunneling microscope (SX-STEM), which is mainly used for nanoscale imaging and material characterization. In simpler terms, SX-STEM allows X-rays to see elements within matter and understand their chemical composition.

They can do this by exciting electrons in the nucleus of an atom: these absorb the X-rays and set them in motion, thus creating a unique ‘fingerprint’. The signature, called an absorption spectrum, helps scientists identify the type of elements in the material being tested.

Scientists found that during the current investigation, they obtained a distinct fingerprint of iron and terbium atoms, that is, they succeeded in X-raying a single atom. The resulting image is very similar to the image researchers took of the black hole a few years ago.




According to the test results, it was possible to perform X-rays only when the needle that emits X-rays was placed close to the corn, so it is still useful to work on this technique.

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(Featured image is illustrative.)



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