IBM Research on Monday announced that it has built a new nanoscale microscope (link to YouTube video) capable of creating images with 100 million times finer resolution than existing MRI technology.
The project was made possible through a process called magnetic resonance force microscopy, which, according to IBM, detects "ultra-small magnetic forces." The technique is said to be able to "see" beneath surfaces and be safe for sensitive biological materials.
IBM said that it ran a test using the new system that established for the first time, magnetic resonance imaging on nanometer-scale items. By running it on a tobacco mosaic virus that is 18 nanometers across--18 billionths of a meter--the new system achieved resolution down to four nanometers.