An Electron Microscope Affordable for Developing-World Clinics?

Feb 02, 2016

The minimum cost for an electron microscope is $50,000, which is clearly unaffordable for most developing-world clinics. However, inspired by the realization of the $1 ‘Foldscope’ microscope, Prof. Fabian Pease has been exploring the possibility of making a lower cost electron microscope at around $150. Several radical departures are needed. One is to avoid the need for vacuum pumps, for example, by employing a sealed tube with a thin window for bringing the electrons onto the sample at atmospheric pressure. Another challenge is providing a stable source of 50,000 volts. Prof. Pease will discuss several innovative approaches to create an affordable electron microscope with an image display on a smart phone.

Fabian Pease has been a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University since 1978. He served as a radar officer in the RAF, then studied Natural Sciences & Electrical Engineering at Cambridge University, where he built the fifth scanning electron microscope. At U.C. Berkeley, he continued his research in scanning electron microscopy, then joined Bell Laboratories to work on digital television and electron beam lithography. His current interests include free electron sources for microscopy, lithography and X-ray generation.