Seeing the invisible

A team of British and Chinese scientists has developed a new “metamaterial-based solid immersion lens” (mSIL) microscope lens design that can extend the magnification of an optical microscope to see objects smaller than the approximately 200 nanometers Abbe diffraction limit, the smallest size of bacteria. Made of millions of nanobeads, the spheres break up the light beam. Acting as individual minute beams, each bead refracts the light.