About the NanoVision Centre
The Centre incorporates a complementary suite of advanced microscopes. In the nanoVision Centre we combine these different techniques together in unique ways for the first time in the UK. Within a single instrument we combine a scanning electron microscope (SEM) that uses a high energy beam of electrons to image and investigate the structure of materials at a very small scale; with a scanning probe microscope (SPM) that uses a tiny physical probe tip that is moved over of the sample in order to 'feel' the surface. Our scientists will be able to perform experiments using combinations of SPM and SEM. This is incredibly useful as the SPM can push, pull or dissect samples while the SEM watches the process unfold. This will give the team an unprecedented opportunity to examine how complex systems such as biological tissues behave in conditions close to their natural state.
Visualising soft and biological matter is a particular strength of the Centre, using the latest in environmental microscopy techniques. Hydrated samples can be viewed, such as cell tissue or bacteria; and even liquids and the interaction of liquids and solids can be observed in real time.
The NanoVision Centre builds on QMUL's reputation for high quality interdisciplinary research, bringing together leading scientists and advanced technologies to support research across the institution. The new capabilities will facilitate medical researches to reveal the interactions of chromosomes in the nucleus of cancer cells; investigate how bacteria invade cells in infectious diseases; and enable targeted drug delivery strategies to be developed by nano-particle absorption into neuroscience research. In biology, detailed molecular studies will help to unravel how plants trap light and turn it into energy in photosynthesis. Learning from structures in nature presents exciting opportunities to develop the next generation of high performance nanomaterials for use in fields from automotive to energy. Nanoscale materials research has huge potential in molecular electronic materials for flexible displays and future computer processing based on semiconducting carbon nanotube molecules.