Paris, January 6, 2009
The new microscope joins the instrumental platform of IPCM, a laboratory which is devoted to the study of nanomaterials and nanosciences, at scales going from the single molecule and agregates of several dozen atoms to organized nanostructures on surfaces and mono- and bi-dimensional objects.
This microscope is part of the electron microscopy platform of the Pôle matériaux et nanosciences
It will be used for scientific projects in the fields of information and communication sciences and technologies, transportation, energy and biomedicine. It will be a particularly precious tool for the Alsacian competitiveness clusters « Véhicule du Futur » and « Innovations Thérapeutiques ». Relevant research topics include nanostructures for spin electronics, functional nanoparticles, polymers and hybrid materials, carbon materials, controlled porosity materials for catalysis and biomaterials.
The new microscope (JEOL 2100F) makes it possible to map the position of atoms within matter, to determine their nature and study in-situ the properties of nano-objects. Several functions enhance its performance:
- aberration correctors, which improve the signal to noise ration in scanning mode (resolution of 0,11 nm), at a cost of 800,000 euros.
- two rotating specimen holders, for three dimensional imaging.
- electron energy loss spectroscopy, which quantitatively analyzes the chemical composition of the sample (resolution of 0,2 nm).
The total cost of the project includes the microscope (2.03 M€) as well as the installation of the locale and the instrument (0.35 M€). CNRS provided half of the funding, and the rest came from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and from local governing bodies, via the State-Region contract, and the Foundation for Chemical Research(1).
In a transmission electron microscope, a sufficienty thin specimen is placed under a beam of electrons which passes through it. The electrons interact with the specimen, then pass through a system of magnetic lenses before reaching a fluorescent screen which converts the electronic image into an optical image. The main advantage of this type of microscope is that it combines the very high resolution (in this case 0,11 nm) of X-ray diffraction, which provides data about the crystalline structure of the specimen, with X-ray spectroscopy, which provides data about the chemical nature of the specimen. Unlike light microscopes, the resolution is not limited by the wavelength of the electrons but rather by the aberrations due to magnetic lenses. © Institut de physique et de chimie des matériaux de Strasbourg. Growth of a carbon nanotube on a cobalt crystal. This image was made with the sweeping function of the new transmission electron microscope at the Institut de physique et de chimie des matériaux de Strasbourg.
© Institut de physique et de chimie des matériaux de Strasbourg.
Growth of a carbon nanotube on a cobalt crystal. This image was made with the sweeping function of the new transmission electron microscope at the Institut de physique et de chimie des matériaux de Strasbourg.
1) Within the RTRA (« réseau thématique de recherche avancée »), Strasbourg was chosen as an excellence center for chemistry. The Centre international de recherche aux frontières de la chimie, which brings together 80 teams from different institutes in and around Strasbourg, is supported by a foundation for scientific cooperation, the Foundation for Research in Chemistry.
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