FEI joins U.S. DOE project to build electron microscope

>U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) TEAM project has chosen FEI Co. as the R&D partner for building what is being called the world’s highest-resolution scanning/transmission electron microscope.


U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) TEAM project has chosen FEI Co . as the R&D partner for building what is being called the world’s highest-resolution scanning/transmission electron microscope. TEAM is a multi-million dollar microscopy project funded by DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences. According to the announcement, the project calls for a new microscope that will allow extraordinary new scientific opportunities for direct observation and analysis of individual nanostructures at an unprecedented resolution of 0.5 Angstrom, or approximately one-third the size of a carbon atom.

National laboratories participating in this project include Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, and Frederick Seitz Material Research. Each has a separate role in achieving the mission to directly observe the atomic-scale order, electron structure, and dynamics of individual nanostructures, even in 3D. The proposed microscope is expected to become a self-contained materials science lab for in-situ analysis and characterization by facilitating experiments across many disciplines.

FEI’s Tools for Nanotech feature focused ion- and electron-beam technologies and deliver 3D characterization, analysis, and modification capabilities with resolution to the sub-Angstrom level. FEI’s goal, it says, is to bring the nanoscale within the grasp of researchers and manufacturers.

At the heart of the microscope is aberration-corrected electron microscopy technology. Achieving the 0.5-Angstrom resolution, FEI and the TEAM project believe, would provide tighter, brighter beams, yielding a stronger signal, higher image contrast, greater analytical sensitivity, and unprecedented spatial resolution. Successful development of unique aberration correctors is expected to deliver the ultimate view of the atomic world.
The correctors will be designed and developed by FEI in cooperation with CEOS (Corrected Electron Optical Systems) . The German-based firm concentrates on the research and development of highly sophisticated electron optical components.

Said George Scholes, vice president for FEI’s (S)TEM business line, "We are excited about our upcoming launch of a new dedicated corrector platform. We believe our efforts will establish a new standard for nanoscale research, discovery, and development. One of the greatest benefits to researchers and industrial users is that the new platform will provide important flexibility for future development of component upgrades."

—Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, Control Engineering, jkatzel@reedbusiness.com

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