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SimPore and KonTEM Announce Collaboration on TEM Imaging for Biomedical Research Applications

Published on September 19, 2012 at 7:23 AM

SiMPore, Inc., of Rochester, NY, USA and KonTEM GmbH of Bonn, Germany, announce their collaboration to develop phase contrast solutions for transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

An electron microscope uses a beam of electrons instead of light to illuminate an object of interest. It allows the object to be observed at one-million-times magnification or greater. In theory, this level of magnification should permit biomedical researchers to see the structure of a virus or similarly sized biological molecule. However, imaging these kinds of structures remains practically difficult due to the weak manner in which biological molecules interact with the TEM's electron beam. Phase contrast imaging promises to overcome this inherent limitation by significantly increasing the contrast of biological structures, allowing researchers to visualize these samples more easily using TEM.

This collaboration combines SiMPore's expertise in thin-film fabrication with KonTEM's knowledge in thin-film preparation, micromanipulation and TEM operation. Together, the two companies will provide a complete solution that increases the practicality of phase contrast TEM. SiMPore will supply KonTEM with phase plate materials, core components of phase contrast systems, for distribution with KonTEM's automated, highly precise, phase plate positioning system. With its modular design, the KonTEM phase contrast system can be incorporated into new and previously installed microscopes. The companies will also collaborate on the further development of next-generation phase plates.

The companies believe their combined efforts will fulfill researchers' demands for an integrated, retro-fittable and user-friendly TEM phase contrast solution. By incorporating SiMPore's advanced thin-film materials and phase plates, the KonTEM system holds the potential to deliver on the long-sought-after promise of phase contrast TEM. KonTEM has already begun placing systems at selected sites and will expand its sales and installation efforts more widely in the coming weeks.

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