Sub-angstrom microscope targets nanotechnology
FEI Co. unveiled the new device at the Microscopy & Microanalysis conference this week in Honolulu. FEI claims its commercial instrument resolves at the sub-angstrom scale for the first time. Designed for nanotechnology development, FEI's microscope, called the Titan 80-300, enables sub-angstrom (atomic scale) imaging and analysis.
Vahe Sarkissian, FEI's chairman and CEO, called the microscope "a significant breakthrough for researchers, developers and manufacturers needing greater access to the nanoscale."
Titan will be the platform from which the TEAM effort will develop their new microscope. TEAM (transmission electron aberration-corrected microscopy), is a collaborative project with the U.S. Office of Basic Energy Sciences, which coordinates microscopy efforts between U.S. national laboratories, universities and industry. The Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences Nanoscale Imaging, Characterization, and Manipulation at Oak Ridge National Laboratories is also participating.
The project's goal is to make direct observations and analysis of individual atoms at 0.5-angstrom resolution - a key dimension for atomic level research since it is one-third the diameter of a carbon atom. (Organic molecules always contain hydrogen - the smallest atom - and carbon.)
"Currently, high-resolution microscopy is performed at resolutions between 1 and 2 angstroms, but at resolutions below 1 angstrom materials exhibit different properties and behaviors which researchers and scientists need to observe in order to correctly characterize materials," said an FEI spokesperson.
- R. Colin Johnson
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