Sunday, November 13, 2011

World’s Most Expensive Microscope

World's Most Expensive Microscope
Since the earliest microscopes were invented in the late 1500s, mankind has been developing new and better ways of looking at really, really small things. From traditional light microscopy to atomic force microscopy, scientists have only become better at visualizing cells, atoms and subatomic particles.
The most expensive microscope in the world doesn’t use either of those methods. It’s a synchrotron microscope built in Oxfordshire, England, and it’s not just the most expensive microscope; it’s also the largest. Diamond, as the facility is called, works like an X-ray microscope. In this case, however, the intense, focused beams of radiation are produced by particles accelerated to 600 million miles per hour.
Diamond is so precise that it can be used for anything from analyzing fossils to the development of new ways to decrease the size of modern electronics. It has also been used to develop AIDS treatments.
Diamond cost £260 million (US $415 million) to build and was funded by the British government and the Wellcome Trust, a charitable foundation dedicated to improving human and animal health through biomedical research.