A research team from Japan, including scientists from Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE 6501, Hitachi), Kyushu University, RIKEN, and HREM Research Inc. (HREM), has achieved a major breakthrough in the observation of magnetic fields at unimaginably small scales.

In collaboration with National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), the team used Hitachi's atomic-resolution holography electron microscope—with a newly developed image acquisition technology and defocus correction algorithms—to visualize the magnetic fields of individual atomic layers within a crystalline solid.

Many advances in , catalysis, transportation, and have been made possible by the development and adoption of high-performance materials with tailored characteristics. Atom arrangement and electron behavior are among the most critical factors that dictate a crystalline material's properties.

Notably, the orientation and strength of magnetic fields right at the interface between different materials or atomic layers are particularly important, and often help explain many peculiar physical phenomena.

Prior to this breakthrough, the maximum resolution at which the magnetic field of atomic layers could be observed was limited to around 0.67 nm, a record set by Hitachi using their cutting-edge holography electron microscope in 2017.

Now, thanks to a large collaborative project, researchers have managed to push this limit even further by addressing a few key limitations in Hitachi's holography electron microscope. Their findings have been published in the journal Nature on July 3, 2024.

To read more, click here.