33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.

Ion microscopes aren’t cheap (average price: $500,000+) or small (think room-size). So Norwich physics professor Arthur Pallone developed an alternative. Dubbed the Tabletop Transmission Ion Microscope, or T-TIME, the device is composed of a polonium-210 radioactive source and a hacked web camera. The setup uses alpha particles to image meso- and microscopic-sized objects and excels at imaging materials and tissues with different densities. With help from then-student Patrick Barnes ’13 and a one-year Vermont Genetics Network grant, Pallone built his prototype for about $500. Another advantage: “The current T-TIME prototype can fit inside a shoebox,” Pallone says. His ultimate goal is to develop an affordable microscope that can reveal cell structures without laborious prep work.

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