Microscopy & Microtechniques
SuperSTEM Consortium Launches EPSRC National Facility
Feb 21 2012
A new facility that allows scientists to study properties of materials more clearly at the atomic level, was officially launched on January 11 at STFC Daresbury. The EPSRC National Facility for Aberration-Corrected Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy will provide easier access to electron microscopes tuned to take account of lens distortions. The new facility will build on the work already carried out at Daresbury which has, for example, enabled international researchers to examine new materials including single atom thick structures like graphene.
Electron microscopes, like their optical predecessors, suffer from image distortion which requires powerful computers and a series of magnets to rebalance the electron probe used to examine materials, this is known as aberration-correction.
In 2003 the pioneering SuperSTEM facility opened the frontiers of electron microscopy to the scientific community by becoming the first user centre in the world to provide access to these types of corrected microscopes. Now, after a competitive tendering process, EPSRC has awarded the SuperSTEM Consortium the status of National Facility for Aberration-Corrected STEM which will build on EPSRC’s previous investment in this resource. Super STEM Chair Professor Rik Brydson, said:
“Electron microscopy has undergone a revolution in recent years with leaps in the performance of electron optical elements, sources and detectors. While instruments are becoming ever more powerful their complexity is also multiplied. This trend places renewed emphasis on national facilities that gather in one place state-of-the-art instrumentation and world-leading experts in the field. This new facility will do just that and is already bringing in results that open up new opportunities in science. We are most grateful to EPSRC for its support for our work.”
EPSRC’s Head of Physical Sciences, Dr Andrew Bourne who performed the opening ceremony, said: “This National Facility will provide UK researchers with an internationally renowned resource in which they can carry out exciting experiments at the nanoscale. EPSRC is pleased to be working with the SuperSTEM Consortium and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to open up this new vista for microscopy.”
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