New electron microscope captures real-time 3D images

3D Microscope

3D movies haven't yet taken off the way TV manufacturers seem to think they will, but similar technology is starting to show up in medical and scientific work. Last week, the Japan Science and Technology Agency announced that a team from Hitachi, Niigata University, and other companies and universities has developed an electron microscope that can show 3D images in real time. Normally, taking a microscopic 3D shot requires merging two images taken at slightly different angles. Now, however, the researchers can briefly switch the direction of the electron beam in order to effectively capture both angles at once. This means scientists can watch a continuous stream of shots from the microscope on a display.

The black-and-white images obtained by an electron microscope are high in detail, but it can still be difficult to analyze the structure of a 2D image. While the new switching process lowers resolution, it could make it much easier to see, for instance, whether a given surface is concave or convex. The display even works with the naked eye, although honestly we wouldn't mind the extra gravitas of some special 3D glasses while doing science.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.