Sometimes my jaw just drops when I read about scientific advances. If the reporter understood this and I understood the reporter they are using a magnetic field causing protons to vibrate which is then measured with a tiny scale.
What makes me astounded is how quickly we are reaching into the molecular level. 15 years ago this was just some wild eyed, theoretical paper.
Magnetic resonance force microscopy employs an ultrasmall cantilever arm as a platform for specimens that are then moved in and out of proximity to a tiny magnet. At extremely low temperatures the researchers are able to measure the effect of a magnetic field on the protons in the hydrogen atoms found in the virus.
By repeatedly flipping the magnetic field, the researchers are able to cause a minute vibration in the cantilever arm which can then be measured by a laser beam. By moving the virus through the magnetic field it is possible to build up a 3-D image from many two-dimensional samples.