Dec 5, 2023

‘Doughnut’ beams help physicists see incredibly small objects

Posted by in categories: computing, physics

In a new study published in Optica, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have used doughnut-shaped beams of light to take detailed images of objects too tiny to view with traditional microscopes.

The new technique could help scientists improve the inner workings of a range of “nanoelectronics,” including the miniature semiconductors in computer chips. The discovery was also highlighted in a special issue of Optics & Photonics News.

The research is the latest advance in the field of ptychography, a difficult-to-pronounce (the “p” is silent) but powerful technique for viewing very small things. Unlike traditional microscopes, ptychography tools don’t directly view small objects. Instead, they shine lasers at a target and then measure how the light scatters away—a bit like the microscopic equivalent of making shadow puppets on a wall.

Leave a reply