World's First X-ray image of a Single Atom Reported by Scientists

World’s First X-ray image of a Single Atom

A group of scientists from various institutions, including Ohio University, Argonne National Laboratory, and the University of Illinois-Chicago, led by Professor Saw Wai Hla of Ohio University and a scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, has achieved a remarkable milestone in the field of X-ray detection.

A significant breakthrough has been achieved as scientists successfully obtained the very first X-ray signature of a single atom. This remarkable achievement holds immense potential for transforming the way scientists detect and analyze materials. X-rays, since their discovery by Roentgen in 1895, have played a crucial role in various fields.

Professor Hla, who also serves as the director of the Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute at Ohio University, explains the significance of this breakthrough. He highlights that while scanning probe microscopes can image atoms, they cannot provide information about their composition without X-rays. Now, with their pioneering approach, the team can identify the type and chemical state of individual atoms, one at a time, through simultaneous measurements. This monumental achievement opens up extraordinary possibilities in environmental and medical sciences and has the potential to drive groundbreaking discoveries that will profoundly impact humanity. Undoubtedly, this discovery has the

power to transform the world.

Hla explains that the resulting spectra possess a distinctive nature similar to unique fingerprints, enabling precise identification.

Tolulope Michael Ajayi, the first author of the paper and a Ph.D. candidate actively participating in the research, expressed the groundbreaking nature of the technique and concept introduced in their study. The introduction of this pioneering technique has unlocked a multitude of opportunities in the realm of X-ray science and nanoscale investigations.

Tolulope Michael Ajayi, the paper’s first author and an actively involved Ph.D. candidate, highlighted the transformative potential of utilizing X-rays to detect and characterize individual atoms. This advancement holds the promise of revolutionizing various fields, including quantum information, as well as the identification of trace elements in environmental and medical research. The remarkable achievement has not only paved the way for future breakthroughs but also propelled the advancement of state-of-the-art technologies. Additionally, the research team delved into investigating the chemical states of individual atoms, comparing and analyzing the chemical properties of iron and terbium atoms.

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