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New microscope offers exciting nanotech opportunities in Aust

26 July, 2013

A new microscope that enables scientists and industry to measure materials and structures a million times smaller than a grain of sand is now in operation at the National Measurement Institute (NMI) in Sydney.

Australia's first metrological scanning probe microscope (mSPM) would open up new business opportunities for Australian industry, according to Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr.

"Although the microscope measures very small objects, the benefit for Australian business is substantial," Carr said.

"Nanotechnology is rapidly developing and finding more and more real-life applications: think targeted drug delivery, coatings for energy efficient buildings, and lighter and longer-lasting batteries.

"Australian businesses wanting to compete in global markets, especially in the growing Asian market, will now have access to this leading-edge instrument."

The unique mSPM was designed and built to extremely exacting specifications by NMI scientists and engineers.

"The mSPM is the culmination of five years of work and will provide highly accurate nanoscale measurements, giving the Australian community confidence when decisions are made about nanotechnologies," Carr said.

Measurements made by the mSPM are directly traceable to the SI unit of length, the metre. This makes them comparable with similar measurements made anywhere in the world, satisfying the principle 'once measured, accepted all over the world'.