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Microscope an Australian first

25 Jul 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.

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

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

Media contacts: Minister's office (02) 6277 7070

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