You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

'New improved glass slide turns microscope into thermometer'

Technology Internet

Press Trust of India  |  New York 

A newly updated version of the humble glass microscope slide can now enable scientists to see tiny objects while also measuring their temperature, a study has found.

The advance, made possible by a new transparent coating, has the potential to streamline and enhance scientific research worldwide, from clandestine government biology labs to high school chemistry classes.

The finding, published in the journal Nature Communications, may also have implications in other industries, such as computers and electronics, which require measurement and control of heat in highly confined spaces.

"We have instruments that magnify incredibly small objects. And we have tools that measure heat, like infrared thermometers," said Ruogang Zhao, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo in the US.

"But we haven't been able to combine them in a low-cost and reliable manner. This new coating takes a big step in that direction," said Zhao.

For decades, researchers have tried to combine thermal imaging and microscopy.

Images produced from systems that use thermocouples lack resolution and are often too coarse for modern science, researchers said.

Terahertz and infrared thermal mapping techniques interfere with the microscope's lenses. Other techniques are expensive and time-consuming, they said.

The new coating is made of a layer of acrylic glass (the same material used in most eyeglasses) that is sandwiched between two layers of transparent gold.

The gold is transparent because it is only 20 nanometres thick; a typical sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometres thick.

Engineers fabricated the coating so that "exceptional points" - the sweet spots where unusual light behaviour happens - can develop within the tri-layered structure.

The coating, which significantly enhances the slide's sensitivity to light detection, would be added to slides during the manufacturing process.

Either the slide or cover slip could receive the coating. To make use of the new coating, a laser is needed, researchers said.

Zhao said a common helium-neon laser, which can be seamlessly integrated with most microscopes, will do the job.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, May 03 2018. 13:20 IST