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Prof. Daesik Kim Develops New Microscope

Dec 29, 2006

Professor Kim Dae-sik's research team(dept. of physics) has developed a new microscope which can observe the size as well as the movement of light. This 'Vector-field Microscope' can dramatically improve the performance of microscopes.

The vector-field microscope which can visualize an electromagnetic wave was developed for the first in the world by SNU research team.

Although Max Well, a Scottish scientist of the late 19 Century, proved that light is an electromagnetic wave whose size and direction vary. However, although existing devices could measure brightness of a light source, there hasn’t been a way to observe the direction of an electromagnetic wave.

However, the research team has solved the limit by using a functional cantilever. The functional cantilever attached nano-sized metal particles on the scanning probe of a near-field microscope, which can create images by absorbing light of a small area.

The nano particles of the functional cantilever exposed to light capture images of dispersed light’s signals through a polarizing plate to find out the size and electric direction (nature of a light source).

“The vector-field microscope developed through one and a half years of research will be extensively used in laboratories. The microscope has been used to examine the electric field of light by a prism or on the surface of a metal. However, the microscope can collect more information once it is improved to visualize organisms,” professor Kim said.

“With the newly developed microscope, we will be able to discover new viruses which we were not able to observe so far. Its application will be virtually limitless ranging from physics to bimolecular engineering,” Profssor Yang Kuk, Dean of Research at SNU said.

The research team’s thesis will be published in the first edition of “Nature Photonics,” an international optical science magazine, which will be issued in January 2007.

15, December 2006