Chemical Society Reviews has just published an illuminating editorial on the current state and the future of nanotomography, an imaging modality that is essentially a CT scan at the nanoscale.
Cathy Garber from Nanowerk explains:
In the critical review “Nanotomography in the chemical, biological and materials sciences” (free access article), published in The Royal Society of Chemistry, scientists from the Electron Microscopy Group at the University of Cambridge in the UK report that nanotomography is becoming an important tool in the study of the size, shape, distribution and composition of various materials, including nanomaterials.
“The need to develop nanotomographic methods applicable to chemical systems (ranging from the physical to the biological) is therefore pressing, just as it is in the engineering and earth sciences,” say the authors. According to the review, it has been long apparent that the spatial resolution attainable by X-rays and electronic beams far exceed what is possible through CT and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the human body.
The review covers a variety of nanotomographic methods, focusing mainly on electron tomography. This includes life sciences applications including cellular organelles, magnetotactic bacteria and the nuclear pore complex but also physical sciences applications such as supported catalysts, nanoalloys and binary II-VI compounds and polymers.
According to the authors, 3D spatial resolution of 1 cubic nanometer is now possible, with global efforts underway to reach 3D atomic resolution.
Nanotomography in the chemical, biological and materials sciences (Chem. Soc. Rev., 2007, 36, 1477 – 1494, DOI: 10.1039/b701569k)
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