World's smallest magnifying glass makes it possible to see chemical bonds between atoms
For centuries, scientists believed that light, like all waves, couldn't be focused down smaller than its wavelength, just under a millionth of a metre. Now, researchers led by the University of Cambridge have created the world's smallest magnifying glass, which focuses light a billion times more tightly, down to the scale of single atoms. In collaboration with colleagues from Spain, the team used highly conductive gold nanoparticles to make the world's tiniest optical cavity, so small that only a single molecule can fit within it. The cavity -- called a 'pico-cavity' by the researchers -- consists of a bump in a gold nanostructure the size...