A 3-dimensional British microscope being developed is providing unprecedented insight into microscopic internal structure and chemical composition.

Researchers said the project is revealing how materials are affected by changes in temperature, humidity, weight load and other conditions.

As do other devices, the new microscope harnesses X-rays to provide information about an object’s internal structure down to micron scale. What makes it unique, scientists said, is its innovative use of a technique called time delay integration, which enables it to generate much better images of larger objects than any other device. That means microscopic structure can be studied with greater accuracy.

The microscope is being developed by teams of scientists from six British universities: Queen Mary University of London, Cranfield University, Imperial College London, The Royal Veterinary College, The University of Manchester, and The University of Southampton.