Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have invented what is claimed to be the world's first fermion microscope, designed to observe and investigate the sub-atomic building blocks of matter. This microscope is capable of viewing the particles in groups of a thousand at a time. It works by using a special laser to herd all the fermions into a viewing area, before freezing them in place so that particles can be simultaneously imaged.
Fermions include a wide variety of particles including electrons, neutrons, quarks, protons and atoms, and are one of only two groups of particles that make up all matter in the universe.
The fermion microscope will aid in very fundamental research of sub-atomic particles that could have a wide-ranging impact. The insights gleaned from using it are expected to improve research into high-temperature superconductors as well as the development of quantum computing systems.