FEI Company Breaks the 1 Angstrom High Resolution Imaging Barrier - New Technology

FEI Company announced today that scientists at the company's nanotechnology centre have broken the one Angstrom image resolution barrier with a 200kV transmission electron microscope (TEM). FEI believes that this is the first time images can be directly viewed with a resolution of less than one Angstrom using commercially available technologies. One Angstrom is one-tenth of a nanometer in size, and a nanometer is one billionth of a meter. One Angstrom is also approximately one-third the size of a carbon atom and is a key dimension for atomic level research.

With the ability to attain direct artifact-free images of atoms, the doors have been opened for researchers working in nanotechnology development to explore materials at the highest resolution ever. The sub-Angstrom resolution was achieved using FEI's Tecnai F20 ST transmission electron microscope, using technologies which improve image resolution with advanced electron optics capabilities developed by FEI and by its partner, CEOS Company. This enables novel TEM techniques such as 3D reconstruction with tomography, scanning probe applications, or in situ observation of specimen responses to variations in temperature, stress or chemical environment, all with sub-Angstrom resolutions.

Experts in nanotechnology have hailed the FEI achievement. "The successful use of an electron beam monochromator to improve the resolution of a Cs-corrected electron microscope marks a major milestone for the field of electron microscopy," stated Dr. Michael O'Keefe of the National Center of Electron Microscopy in Berkeley, California. "Theory has long predicted that a monochromator would be able to push the resolution of the super-twin lens beyond the 1.4A resolution demonstrated with Cs- correction alone. However, the difficulties involved in implementation of a monochromator without compromising the imaging qualities of the electron beam are well-known. FEI deserves to be congratulated for this outstanding achievement."

Prof. Dr. Hannes Lichte of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Institute of Structure Physics at Dresden University in Germany, commented, "For the first time, the authors convincingly show that in a Cs-corrected TEM by additional reduction of energy spread using a gun monochromator, they extend the total information limit to significantly better than 0.1nm. As evident from their diffractograms, they are not far off the theoretical limit of about 0.07nm in at least some direction. Congratulations!"

"FEI remains the world leader in high resolution imaging and an important enabler for the world's growing nanotechnology industry," said Vahe Sarkissian, FEI's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "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."

Dr. Max Haider, co-founder and Managing Director of CEOS, said, "A long-time ongoing dream, to achieve sub-Angstrom resolution, has now been attained with a 200 kV TEM equipped with a Cs-corrector (developed by CEOS) and a monochromator (developed by FEI). This success is the result of the combination of advanced components into one instrument, to attain an unprecedented level of resolution." CEOS (Corrected Electron Optical Systems) Company of Heidelberg, Germany, is concentrating on the development of advanced correction systems for high-resolution electron microscopy.

"We are proud of this milestone which sets the stage for even greater breakthroughs," said Dr. Rob Fastenau, senior vice president of FEI's Electron Optics Division. "This achievement is directly related to our proven commitment to advanced electron microscopy. FEI was the first to combine TEM with Cs-correctors in the late 90's, and FEI was the first in 2000 with proven monochromator technology. Today, FEI is the first to combine these advanced technologies in an-easy-to-use system that breaks the Angstrom barrier."

 Posted 31st March 2004

Date Added: Apr 5, 2004 | Updated: Jun 11, 2013
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