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Research Overview

Microscopic imaging is critical for discovery and innovation in science and technology, accelerating advances in materials, bio, nano and energy sciences, as well as nanoelectronics, data storage and medicine. Fortunately, all areas of imaging, from electron to visible to X-ray, are undergoing revolutionary advances. However, no imaging technique can address a critical question underlying much of science and technology in the 21st century: how local (nanoscale) and extended (mesoscale) structure and interactions determine the properties and function of a material or biological system. Opaque, scattering and disordered samples common in chemistry, materials, and biology present a formidable challenge using any imaging modality. Notable demonstrations aside, current X-ray, electron, and optical microscopies are simply too slow to routinely image functioning systems in real space and time. This severely limits progress in science and technology.

The NSF STC on Real-Time Functional Imaging (STROBE) will address this challenge by integrating different imaging modalities with underpinning technologies – advanced algorithms, fast detectors, big data manipulation and hybrid/adaptive imaging. Unlike conventional approaches - where scientists develop different, stand-alone, imaging technologies to solve specific problems – STROBE will integrate different imaging modalities with electrons, X-rays and optical nanoscopy to develop transformative imaging modalities that address grand challenges in science and technology.