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Quantum weirdness is opening new doors for electron microscopes, powerful tools used for high-resolution imaging.

Two new advances from the lab of UO physicist Ben McMorran are refining the microscopes. Both come from taking advantage of a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics: that an electron can behave simultaneously like a wave and a particle. It's one of many examples of weird, quantum-level quirks in which often behave in ways that seem to violate the laws of classical physics.

One of the studies finds a way to study an object under the microscope without making contact with it, preventing the scope from damaging fragile samples. And the second devises a way to make two measurements on a sample at once, giving a way to study how particles in that object are potentially interacting across distances.

McMorran and his colleagues report their findings in two papers, both published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

"It's often difficult to observe something without influencing it, especially when you're looking at details," McMorran said. "Quantum physics appears to provide a way for us to look at things more without disrupting them."

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