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The world of materials is spatially complex and chemically diverse, and so to understand materials, we must see their details at dimensions ranging from the atomic level to the macroscale. By combining different methods of seeing and understanding materials, we can then develop new materials with novel properties and successfully address some of this century’s most significant challenges.

Argonne National Laboratory leads the development of new ways of seeing materials by connecting techniques that include hard X-ray microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, and electron microscopy. Each approach provides new insights into different length scales and properties of materials in unprecedented detail.

However, because no single method gives the whole picture for improving materials, we need to integrate a range of capabilities so as to illuminate the whole picture of their structures and functions. Argonne specializes in in situ microscopy and spectroscopy, which allow us to explore how a material responds to external stimuli such as light, heat or applied fields, and to follow chemical and biological processes as they happen.