Powerful PNNL microscopes need ‘quiet room’

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RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — A laboratory at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland is designed for microscopes so powerful they’ll be able to look at individual atoms.

To do that, they have to be absolutely still — no vibrations, no sound.

That’s why a new wing of the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory is called the “quiet wing.”

The Tri-City Herald reports (http://is.gd/Tkdyb8 ) it was built at a cost of about $7 million.

Workers are installing five special research microscopes in the quiet room. They should start operating as soon as March.

The microscopes are so sensitive some metal doors have to be replaced with wooden doors because the motion of the metal was detected as electromagnetic interference.

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Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com