Materials Science 2011/07/11
Professor Hiroshi Daimon (Graduate School of Material Science) and his research team have developed a method enabling everyone to view three-dimensional atomic arrangement with the Nintendo 3DS.
There has been no easy method for usual people to realize the three-dimensional atomic image by naked eyes. Although there developed many apparatuses for viewing stereopictures, all of them requires special glasses or expensive especially for children. A portable game machine "Nintendo 3DS" has opened a way to project the stereo photograph of atomic arrangement with stereoscopic three-dimensional effects for millions of people in the world especially for children. Because this new machine does not require any special glasses to see stereoscopic image, all people can see three-dimensional atomic arrangement from individual atomic species directly by naked eyes. This innovation would make children interested in science in atomic level.
Analysis of atomic arrangement is a key to develop new functional materials in atomic level. X-ray diffraction is usually used to analyze atomic arrangement, however it requires a complex computing such as phase retrieval and Fourier transform to obtain the 3D image. A method to take stereo photograph of atomic arrangement has been developed using circularly polarized synchrotron radiation at BL25SU in SPring-8 and a display-type spherical mirror analyzer . The measured images using this apparatus directly form the stereo image of the atoms. One application of this technique is the dopant site analysis for B-doped superconducting diamond , where B atoms are found to be located at one of the substitutional site.
There has been no easy method for usual people to realize the three-dimensional atomic image because only a few percent of people can enjoy stereo picture by naked eyes. Although there developed many apparatuses for viewing stereopicture, all of them requires special glasses or expensive especially for children. Very recently a portable game machine "Nintendo 3DS" has been distributed by Nintendo Co., Ltd., on which games can be enjoyed with 3D effects without the need for any special glasses. This new cheap but not too small machine opened a way to project the stereo photograph of atomic arrangement with stereoscopic three-dimensional effects for millions of young people especially for children in the world.
Figures 1 (a) and (b) are stereo photographs of atomic arrangement seen from an In atom (indicated by "O" in Fig. 1(e)) in InP crystal along  which is the direction to the nearest P atom indicated by "A" in Fig. 1(e) . When you see Fig. 1(a) with your left eye and (b) with your right eye you can realize three dimensional atomic arrangement seen from "O" atom. The "A" atom looks closer to you and "B" and "C" atoms look further. Figures 1 (c) and (d) are stereo photographs seen from a P atom (indicated by "A" in Fig. 1(e)) along  which is the direction to the next In atom indicated by A' in Fig. 1(e). In this case A' atom looks further than B and C atoms. In this way this technique of stereophotograph enables us to see three dimensional atomic arrangement around specific atomic species directly by our eyes. The difference between the atomic configuration realized by this stereo view and that of Fig. 1(e) originates from the difference of angle of view (±5°in Fig. 1 and ±60°in the measurement). However the three-dimensional image can be realized only by trained people.
Hence we put some stereophotograph files at
so that everyone can download and display them on the portable game console of Nintendo 3DS as shown in Fig. 1(f). Then, millions of people can see stereoscopic three-dimensional atomic arrangement without requirement of any special glasses. This innovation enables people to realize three dimensional atomic configuration around specific atomic species easily, and would promote a development of new functional materials in atomic level. We hope many young people including children become interested in science.