Though producing 3D images with an electron microscope isn’t the newest of the new, being able to display the 3D images in real time is, which is why it’s pretty neat that a Japanese research group has created an electron microscope that does just that.
A normal scanning electron microscope works by shooting a narrow beam at convex and concave structures, then scanning it two dimensionally. With the goal of better analyzing a structure, the researchers created this new scanning electron microscope that is capable of displaying an image in 3D by having it scan an object at a high speed, but having it switch the angle of the electron beam. This results in what is essentially parallax images, the old 3D trick with the red and blue lenses you may remember from old movies, coloring books, and David Tennant.
As those few gamers who play the occasional game on a 3D television know all too well, the microscope’s 3D images are of lower resolution than standard, non-3D images. However, a somewhat lower resolution may be worth it if the tradeoff is being able to study images of microscopic objects in 3D.
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