Seeing the Invisible

Human beings have been trying to figure out the elementary composition of the universe since the era of ancient Greece. Democritus, an ancient Greek philosopher, created atomic theory. In the atomic theory, everything is composed of “atoms” (from the Greek meaning “can’t be cut”) and these atoms are physically indivisible.1 The ancient Greeks speculated on …

Celebrating Science at a Science Fiction Convention

I am a second-generation science fiction fan; my parents have been Star Trek fans since the ‘60s, and I grew up on PBS reruns of Doctor Who in the ‘80s. Like so many others, my appreciation for science fiction definitely played a role in developing my interests in real-world science. One of my favorite ways …

How do scientists determine the texture of cells?

trout gill cell AFM

This post was co-authored by Arielle Mensch & Yi Cui We recently received a very intriguing question from a 12-year old reader, Olivia, who asked, “How do scientists figure out the texture of cells?” This is a great question, and like most great questions, the answer is a bit complicated! Scientists have a variety of …

Royal Rife’s Universal Microscope (and Why It Can’t Exist)

Royal Rife

In the 1930s, microscope designer Royal Rife made a splash with reports that he had designed a new microscope that could view nanoscale objects such as viruses!1 The only problem was that it didn’t work. In fact, it couldn’t work, based on the basic physics of light. Rife was attempting to improve upon the optical …

Nature Under a Microscope: Exploring the Beauty of Nanoscience

Towering mountains are stretching beyond my sight, flaming roses are blossoming by my side, shooting stars are dashing above my head. You might think that I am traveling to some wondrous destination, wandering in a mountainous area and enjoying the dark expanse of the glorious starry night, but what if I were to tell you …

National Lab Travelogue: A day in the life of a graduate student visiting the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

As a life-long nerd and science-lover, it is hard to imagine a laboratory that could get me more excited than Galya Orr’s lab at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Galya is a collaborator within the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. I had the great opportunity to travel to her lab at the Environmental Molecular Sciences …

Publication Summary: Dark Field Microscopy Makes Nanoparticles Light Up

This post is part of our ongoing series of public-friendly summaries describing research articles that have been published by members of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. Katie Hurley and Nathan Klein, a doctoral mentor/undergraduate mentee team at the University of Minnesota, were co-first authors on this paper. Katie says, “In this post I want to point …

How Can You See an Atom? – ACS Reactions Video

Here at Sustainable Nano, we've published several posts talking about the instrumentation used by researchers in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology to visualize nanoparticles and cell membranes, such as atomic force microscopy and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. For this week's post, we're sharing a video produced by the American Chemical Society's Reactions series, called "How Can You See an Atom?" The …