Reporter 432, 1 March 1999


Microscopic exhibit will give visitors the ultimate close-up

The Science Museum in London has snapped up an electron microscope used in the materials department for over twenty years. Less than ten of the photoemission microscopes were ever made and the Leeds instrument is the only one in the UK.

The microscope forms an image of the specimen based on the electrons it emits, a process aided by heat. This gives the microscope the great advantage of being able to study materials as they melt, at temperatures approaching 2000 degrees C.

It was acquired in 1974 by the late Emeritus Professor Jack Nutting, to study the steel pipelines used in offshore oil systems and required as many as five people working on the microscope to operate the unique technology. "It was a great stimulus to team work in the lab," said experimental officer Tony Nichells.

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