Highly Advanced Transmission Electron Microscope from FEI Inaugurated at the Ernst Ruska-Centre in Germany
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Press release date: February 29, 2012
The Ernst Ruska-Centre has reached a record resolution of 50 picometers (one billionth of a millimeter), which allows scientists to resolve atomic structures to unprecedented levels
Hillsboro, Ore.- FEI (NASDAQ: FEIC), a leading instrumentation company providing imaging and analysis systems for research and industry, today announced that a highly advanced microscope has been inaugurated at the Ernst Ruska-Centre (ER-C) in Jülich, Germany. This microscope was funded by the Ernst Ruska-Centre's "PICO" project, and is based on FEI's Titan3(TM) G2 60-300 scanning transmission electron microscope (S/TEM). It is one of only two of its kind in the world and the first one in Europe with chromatic aberration correction (CC).
The Advanced Picometre Resolution Project (PICO) is a joint development project between FEI, CEOS and the Ernst Ruska-Centre focused on building a microscope that pushes the envelope of the physical limits of electron optics. This technology will enable academic and industrial researchers to explore new frontiers in materials science for energy and information technology in order to better understand the relationship between the atomic structure, physical properties and potential applications. The sophisticated computer modeling methods developed by the ER-C scientists allows for unprecedented resolution of 50 picometers for materials science applications.
"The ER-C's achievement of 50 picometer resolution is the pinnacle of performance in the world of microscopy," stated Trisha Rice, vice president and general manager of FEI's Materials Science Business Unit. "As a leading solution provider, we are proud to supply this special Titan system to the ER-C as a major milestone in technology and enabler for potential new, exciting discoveries. It will allow for new insights in the fields of nanotechnology, solid state physics and materials science and the potential development of faster, more energy-efficient, and more reliable devices, materials and nanostructures."
The ER-C received approximately $20 million (USD) in funding for the project (covering the cost of the PICO system, additional analytical equipment, and new building expenses) from the Federal State, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the German Research Foundation, and the Helmholtz Association.
The PICO system is based on FEI's Titan3 G2 60-300 (S/TEM) platform. A chromatic aberration corrector has been added to improve resolution and precision, giving the system the capability to measure interatomic distances and atom displacements with a precision of five picometers to only one picometer. The PICO system also incorporates aberration-corrected electron optics developed in the 1990s by scientists at the EMBL Heidelberg, CEOS, the Technical University of Darmstadt and Forschungszentrum Jülich.
Major engineering achievements in the system include: integration of CC corrector technology; mastering the challenge of the 80 cm CC corrector module mechanics; the embedding of the user-friendly software; and the provision of the full flexibility of the 60 kV to 300 kV range of acceleration voltage.
Rice adds, "FEI has had a close collaboration with the ER-C for many years now, and in fact, the world's first available electron microscope was built with spherical aberration correction in Jülich on an FEI TEM."
FEI (Nasdaq: FEIC) is a leading diversified scientific instruments company. It is a premier provider of electron- and ion-beam microscopes and solutions for nanoscale applications across many industries: industrial and academic materials research, life sciences, semiconductors, data storage, natural resources and more. With more than 60 years of technological innovation and leadership, FEI has set the performance standard in transmission electron microscopes (TEM), scanning electron microscopes (SEM) and DualBeams(TM), which combine a SEM with a focused ion beam (FIB). Headquartered in Hillsboro, Ore., USA, FEI has over 2,000 employees and sales and service operations in more than 50 countries around the world. More information can be found at: www.fei.com.
About Ernst Ruska-Centre
The ER-C has been operated by the Research Centre Jülich and RWTH Aachen since 2004 as a centre for atomic-resolution electron microscopy and spectroscopy at the highest international level. The ER-C develops scientific and technical infrastructure and methods for materials research and is the first national user center for ultrahigh-resolution electron microscopy. For more information see: http://www.er-c.org.
CEOS (Corrected Electron Optical Systems) provides advanced aberration correctors for various charged particle lenses. The company, which was founded in Heidelberg/Germany by Dr. M. Haider and Dr. J. Zach, concentrates on the research and development of highly sophisticated electron optical components. For more information see: http://www.ceos-gmbh.de.
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