Researchers at University of Newcastle, Melbourne, opens new doors to discovery with world’s first Scanning Helium Microscope

It was predicted few months back by WSJ, that electron microscope market was worth $10 bn.The figures are going to change drastically now after researchers from University of Newcastle, claim to build the world’s first Scanning Helium Microscope (SHM), putting an end to decades of wait in the scientific community, thus opening new doors to discovery.

Scientist can rejoice now that their samples would be characterized without getting damaged, thanks to the latest invention.

Earlier, when samples were subjected to characterization under scanning electron microscope or transmission electron microscope, they would deteriorate because of high intensity electron beam, becoming much the reason of scientists agony.

The claim from University of Newcastle, would be nothing but a boon to the scientific community and certainly lights up a path for more improvement in microscopes necessary for nanoscale imaging.

A butterfly wing under investigation by an optical microscope, versus the new scanning helium microscope.

Photo: A butterfly wing under investigation by an optical microscope (left), versus the new scanning helium microscope (right). (Supplied: University of Newcastle)

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Close up of spider’s fang imaged by the scanning helium microscope. University of Newcastle

Detail of a honey bee’s eye imaged by the scanning helium microscope. University of Newcastle

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Read full interview with scientist behind the breakthrough


India Scientist invents Chip to Detect Cancer Early, Costs less than a dollar

newSource : the new indian express

BENGALURU:  Innovators often draw inspiration from personal experiences. Dr Deepika Sharma was spurred by a tragedy to come up with a device that brings down the costs of cancer detection.

Described as a ‘microfluidic low-cost organ-on-chip for cancer metastasis and drug optimisation’, the device can detect cancer early and help choose the right drugs.

Sharma’s mother died of urethral cancer five years ago. The death prodded the scientist to work on a device that could detect cancer early.

“If there had been a tool for early detection, we could have saved my mother,” she said.

The chip she is developing costs as little as Rs 30 and could cost even less if mass-produced. The project has been taken up by the Institute of Nano Science and Technology, Mohali, Punjab, to which she is attached.

Speaking to Express on the sidelines of the eighth Bangalore India Nano Summit, organised by the Department of IT, BT and Science and Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research and other organisations, Sharma said work on the device was progressing rapidly. It will hit the market within a year, she said.

She is working with Dr Bhanu Prakash and Asim Varma on the project. The prototypes, on display at the summit, have succeeded in detecting prostrate cancer, she disclosed.

Its transparent material, olydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), is etched using a laser to emulate endothelial cells, which line the insides of blood vessels.

When samples are placed on the sensor and observed under a microscope, medical professionals can tell if the patient has cancer, Shrma said.

cheap and effective

  • Mother’s death from cancer prodded scientist Dr Deepika Sharma to design cancer detecting device
  • Lowcost gadget can also be used to determine which treatment is appropriate for a patient
  • Currently used to detect prostrate cancer, it can be used to test on other cancers soon

Noting that the cost of such devices shoot up when patented, Sharma said her team was keen to keep the price affordable.

“We will publish results of its success in the detection of prostate cancer within a year. Soon, we will be able to test it on other cancers,” she said.

The device can also be used to determine which treatment is appropriate for a patient.

“People respond to medicines differently. With the PDMS sensor, we can ascertain which medicines suit them better, rather than let them consume a cocktail of drugs,” Asim Varma said.

The current technique for detecting cancer – biopsy, in which a tissue is taken and examined closely in a lab – is expensive, with prices varying across hospitals. The nano-device will be a cost-effective alternative, he said.

Scientists at IBM invent thermometer for nanoscale

newSource  :

The IBM lab responsible for inventing the scanning tunneling microscope and the atomic force microscope has invented another critical tool for helping us understand the nanoworld.


Accurately measuring the of objects at the nanoscale has been challenging scientists for decades. Current techniques are not accurate and they typically generate artifacts, limiting their reliability.

Motivated by this challenge and their need to precisely characterize the temperature of new transistor designs to meet the demand of future cognitive computers, scientists in Switzerland from IBM and ETH Zurich have invented a breakthrough technique to measure the temperature of nano- and macro-sized objects. The patent-pending invention is being disclosed for the first time today in the peer-review journal Nature Communications, “Temperature mapping of operating nanoscale devices by scanning probe thermometry.”

A History of Invention

In the 1980s, IBM scientists Gerd Binnig and the late Heinrich Rohrer wanted to directly explore a surface’s electronic structure and imperfections. The instrument they needed to take such measurements didn’t exist, yet. So they did what any good scientist would do: they invented one. It became known as the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), opening the door to nanotechnology. Just a few years later, the invention was recognized with the highest of honors, the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1986.

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