H. Okamoto; "A Quantum Mechanical Concept for..", June 7, 2006, 13:40
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  • H. Okamoto; "A Quantum Mechanical Concept for..", June 7, 2006, 13:40

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Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences


A quantum mechanical concept for controlling radiation damage
in biological electron microscopy

Hiroshi Okamoto
Institute of Physics, University of Zurich

The most successful methods of structural biology are at present X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. Electron microscopy, with its unique advantages, is expected to play an increasingly significant role in the future. However, the major problem of biological electron microscopy is its poor resolution due to severe radiation damage. This is because a large number of electrons normally needed to ensure good statistics, in other words good signal to noise ratio, would inevitably destroy the fragile biological specimens. In this talk I will describe a possible way out for this seemingly intractable problem [1]. Furthermore, I will show that, on both experimental and theoretical grounds, our scheme based on micro-fabricated diffractive electron optics is feasible with currently available technologies. To stretch a point slightly, it may be said that the main idea is to image the entire specimen by one electron, to minimize radiation damage.

[1] H. Okamoto, T. Latychevskaia and H.-W. Fink, “A quantum mechanical scheme to reduce radiation damage in electron microscopy”, Appl. Phys. Lett., in press.


Dr. Okamoto earned his Ph. D in applied physics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan for his study on the properties of superconducting single electron transistors. Since then, his research activities and interests have spanned several areas such as low temperature physics, surface science, and most recently, bio-physics.

June 7, 2006, 13:40, FENS G035