Scientists break one Angstrom image resolution barrier; open door to nanoscale process control, diagnostics

Scientists at the FEI Co. nanotechnology center in Hillsboro, OR, have broken the one Angstrom image resolution barrier with a 200 kV transmission electron microscope.


Scientists at the FEI Co . nanotechnology center in Hillsboro, OR, have broken the one Angstrom image resolution barrier with a 200 kV transmission electron microscope. The company believes this to be the first time images have been viewed with a resolution of less than one Angstrom using commercially available technologies. The achievement is viewed as a significant step in the development of tools to meet the needs of high-volume manufacturing that requires process control and diagnostics at the nanoscale. One Angstrom is one-tenth of a nanometer; a nanometer is one billionth of a meter.

The development opens the door to explore materials at the highest resolution, said the company. "In every market we serve, we are delivering the tools needed to research and develop new products and devices. Our tools will continue to serve nano-driven markets as new products are commercialized and high-volume manufacturing requires process control and diagnostics at the nanoscale."

Experts in nanotechnology hailed the achievement as significant. "The successful use of an electron beam monochromator to improve the resolution of a Cs-corrected [correction of spherical aberrations] electronic microscope marks a major milestone for the field of electron microscopy," said Dr. Michael O’Keefe, National Center of Electron Microscopy, Berkeley, CA.
"A long-time ongoing dream, to achieve sub-Angstrom resolution, has now been attained with a 200 kV TEM [transmission electron microscope] equipped with a Cs-corrector and a monochromator. This success is the result of the combination of advanced components into one instrument, to attain an unprecedented level of resolution," said Dr. Max Haider, co-founder and managing director of CEOS (Corrected Electron Optical Systems) Co., Heidelberg, Germany.

Click here to read more about this development .

—Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, Control Engineering,

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