Microscopic zoom-in on a bacterium on a diatom on an amphipod

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Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.



…in the bog down in the valley-o


They stopped too soon. If you zoom in a few more levels, there’s a tiny animal that’s no more than a single quark.


I think I just came… that was awesome…

My friend has SEM. I real working SEM. I hate him.


And we will call it the “Jaguar Shark”.


We need such machines to become way cheaper and way more affordable. They are nothing much more than some precision and semiprecision machining, and not so much of fairly primitive electronics, for what passes for today’s standards. A lot of the complexity and linearization that was needed years ago can be done today with digital signal processing. The rest is just the vacuum (the difficult part), the electron lenses (another difficult part but maybe just because I have only a little idea about how charged particle optics works), and computer-controlled high voltage (for the accelerator) and precision current (for the lenses and deflection) power supplies.

He got them for pennies on the dollar of their original cost. IIRC he has 2 now. He got one on ebay, and one from a gov. surplus. The surplus one was supposed to be destroyed for parts, but basically the bashed in some cabinets and chipped off the paint of the main tube.

He is smart enough to fix any issues that have cropped up with them. I think the first one took some minor work to get going.

He bought them to look at dinosaur bones in his spare time while grinding a giant lens for a telescope. Wrote a paper on supposed “soft tissue” he found - which he concluded wasn’t from dinosaurs. He showed me some weird as shit that was probably fungus.


It’s turtles all the way down.


Such guys make me the Emerald/Paris-Green shade of envy.

We should have such gear available as new, for the same cost, without having to stalk eBay… Paging Shenzhen…!

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Seems like you should be able to find a SEM in Akihabara.

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A sub-$1000 one would be excellent…

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He forwarded me an ebay listing a few months ago. But I told him I don’t even have a place to put it now.

I’d have problems finding the space (which is solvable) but the major issue here is the cost. And the shipping. And the risk that I’d not be able to repair the thing…

Cue the Dramatic Gopher music.



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