FEI Company has announced that scientists at its NanoPort in Europe have broken another image resolution barrier with the world's most advanced commercially-available microscope, the Titan 80-300 corrected S/TEM. For the first time ever, directly interpretable TEM images with atomic resolution better than 1.4 Angstrom were obtained at the very low operating voltage of 80kV.
The result was welcomed by some of the world's leading research centers as an important milestone in nanocharacterization as now even light element materials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene can be imaged artifact-free and with high contrast while having highest lateral resolution.
Direct atomic resolution at 80kV was obtained for various classes of materials: gold nanoparticles, silicon and single wall carbon nanotubes. The smallest atomic distance resolved was the well-known silicon dumbbell distance of 1.36 Angstrom. These new findings will be presented in a scientific presentation at the Microscopy & Microanalysis 2006 conference being held this week in Chicago.
"I am pleased to see this proof of the stability of the Titan column at the low-voltage end of its range. This is good news for the TEAM project, which specifically demands unprecedented resolution over the whole operating range of 80 to 300kV to meet a spectrum of scientific challenges. I consider this a significant milestone for the TEAM/FEI collaboration," commented Ulrich Dahmen, TEAM Project Director from the National Center for Electron Microscopy in Berkeley, California.
"With their resolving power at an accelerating voltage of only 80 kV, the Titan instruments will allow us to get much deeper and more reliable insight in materials classes previously excluded from high-resolution analysis due to their beam-sensitivity. This will include nanomaterials composed of light elements in both hard and soft matter, which can now be investigated at an unprecedented contrast and spatial resolution," said Joachim Mayer from the Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons at the Research Centre Juelich, Germany.
"We are proud to deliver to our customers our promise of the ultimate performance, stability and flexibility for a new era of groundbreaking results. We have shown the world record performance at 300kV before, now we can add the milestone at 80kV," said Rob Fastenau, senior vice president for FEI's NanoResearch & Industry and NanoBiology market divisions. He added: "I am very pleased that the Titan 80-300 shows direct atomic resolution over the entire range of operating voltages. It will give us the opportunity to further accelerate our mission to remain the world leader in high-resolution imaging and analysis and an important enabler for the world's growing nanotechnology industry."
The milestone results were achieved on a Titan 80-300 equipped with an aberration corrector. The Titan is designed as a dedicated and upgradeable aberration-corrected system for ultimate performance and ultimate flexibility. The corrector, developed by CEOS GmbH in close collaboration with FEI Company, allows for significant resolution improvement and removal of artifacts that normally hamper direct interpretation of images. The new resolution achievement underscores the ultimate flexibility and stability of the Titan 80-300 system.