Collin Arocho
28 May 2020

The Kavli Foundation has announced the winners of the 2020 Kavli prize in nanoscience. This year, four scientists will split the one million dollar award for their invention of corrective lenses for electron microscopy. The winners are: Harald Rose of Ulm University and the Technical University of Darmstadt, Maximilian Haider of instrument maker Corrected Electron Optical Systems in Heidelberg, Knut Urban of the Jülich Research Center and Ondrej Krivanek of Nion.

Credit: Kavli Foundation

For decades, electron microscopists endeavored to resolve individual atoms in the materials they studied. While it was successful on occasion, the images tended to be fuzzy, lacking sharp contrast between neighboring atoms, rows of atoms and distinct materials at interfaces. In the 1990s, this group of innovators collaborated to successfully create aberration-correcting lenses that focus a microscope’s electron beam with exceptional precision. As a result, their efforts pushed the resolving power of the instruments to the sub-angstrom level, making atom-resolved chemical analysis in three dimensions the standard.