Ideas @ Work: #4 Shrinking Science

33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.
The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

Ion microscopes aren’t cheap (average price: $500,000+) or small (think room-size). So Norwich physics professor Arthur Pallone developed an alternative. Dubbed the Tabletop Transmission Ion Microscope, or T-TIME, the device is composed of a polonium-210 radioactive source and a hacked web camera. The setup uses alpha particles to image meso- and microscopic-sized objects and excels at imaging materials and tissues with different densities. With help from then-student Patrick Barnes ’13 and a one-year Vermont Genetics Network grant, Pallone built his prototype for about $500. Another advantage: “The current T-TIME prototype can fit inside a shoebox,” Pallone says. His ultimate goal is to develop an affordable microscope that can reveal cell structures without laborious prep work.

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