Our instruments

The Institute for Frontier Materials’ state-of-the-art electron microscopes allow researchers to see things at the micro, nano and sub-nanometre scales.


Our microscopes

Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) and transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) differ from conventional light microscopes in that they employ electrons rather than photons to irradiate material and produce images.

The material being studied should be a solid material and be able to withstand the energy of the electrons being directed at it.

Electron microscopes can analyse most materials, including:

  • plastics
  • metals and metal compounds
  • semiconductors
  • rocks and minerals
  • plant and animal materials
  • some liquids.

FEI Quanta 3D FEG FIB-SEM

The FEI Quanta 3D FEG FIB-SEM enables imaging, analysis and manipulation of microstructures using a combination of a field-emission gun scanning electron microscope with a gallium focused ion beam and a platinum gas-injection system.

Applications

  • Site-specific sectioning with imaging, EDS or EBSD
  • Serial sectioning with imaging, EDS or EBSD
  • Site-specific sample preparation for TEM and APT
  • Nano-scale and micro-scale milling, deposition and fabrication

Features
Detectors

  • Secondary electron (SE): Everhart-Thornley
  • Backscatter electron (BSE): Solid State Diode
  • Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX): Apollo
  • Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD): Hikari

Automation software

  • Multi-site milling (AutoFIB)
  • TEM specimen preparation (AutoTEM)
  • Serial sectioning and imaging (Slice and View)
  • Serial sectioning and EBSD/EDS (EBS3)

Data acquisition software

  • Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX): Genesis
  • Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD): OIM

Data processing software

  • 2D images (Photoshop, ImageJ)
  • 3D images (Amira, Avizo, Paraview)
  • 2D EBSD data (Channel, CrossCourt, OIM)
  • 3D EBSD data (Dream3D, OIM)

Specifications
Electron optics

  • FEG source, high current electron column
  • Accelerating voltage: 0.2 to 30 kV
  • Probe current: Up to 200 nA
  • Magnification: 30x to 1280 kx (Quad Mode)

Ion optics

  • Ga liquid metal ion source, high current ion column 
  • Accelerating voltage: 2 to 30 kV 
  • Probe current: 1 pA to 65 nA 
  • Magnification: 40x to 1280 kx (Quad Mode) 
  • Charge neutralisation mnde

Electron beam resolution

  • High vacuum: 1.2 nm at 30 kV (SE), 2.5 nm at 30 kV (BSE), 2.9 nm at 1 kV (SE) 
  • Low vacuum: 1.5 nm at 30 kV (SE), 2.5 nm at 30 kV (BSE), 2.9 nm at 3 kV (SE)
  • Extended low vacuum (ESEM): 1.5 nm at 30 kV (SE)

Ion beam resolution

  • 7 nm at 30 kV at beam coincident point, 5 nm at 30 kV at optimal working distance

Chamber vacuum

  • High vacuum: < 6E-4 Pa
  • Low vacuum: 10 to 130 Pa
  • Extended low vacuum (ESEM): 10 to 4000 Pa

Zeiss Supra 55VP FEG SEM

The Supra 55VP is a high resolution scanning electron microscope (SEM) that uses a Schottky-type field-emission electron source. A beam booster is used to optimise electron optical performance at all accelerating voltages. In addition, the optical column has no crossovers and utilises a magnetic/electrostatic objective lens to minimise beam imperfections at low voltage by reducing chromatic aberration. This instrument can also be operated in Variable Pressure Mode, up to a pressure of 133Pa, thus providing charge compensation for materials with little or no conductivity.

Current project examples

  • Functionalisation of fabrics with rare earth element-doped inorganic nanomaterials
  • Improving the efficiency of dye sensitised solar cells using plasma technology
  • Electrospun inter-boned carbon nanofibres for supercapacitor application
  • Metal nitride formation by Solid-State Reactions
  • Microstructure of cocoon components of silk varieties.

Features

  • Angular selective backscattered (Mott type) – high crystal orientation sensitivity with sub-micron spatial resolution
  • Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) – Oxford (HKL) Nordlys F with low resolution 'fast' CCD for fast texture mapping 
  • Oxford X-Max 20 EDX integrated with EBSD system for Phase ID via NIST material database

Specifications
Resolution

  • 0.8 nm @ 15 kVV
  • 1.6nm @ 1kV
  • 2.0 nm @ 0.1 k

VP Vacuum

  • 2 - 133 Pa, adjustable in steps of 1 Pa

Magnification

12 - 1,000,000 x

Emitter

  • Thermal field emission type

Acceleration voltage

  • 0.02 - 30 kV

Probe current

  • 4 pA - 20 nA

Detectors

  • High efficiency In-lens secondary electron detector
  • Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) detector – Oxford (HKL) Nordlys S
  • Variable pressure secondary electron (VPSE) detector
  • Lens-mounted angular selective backscatter (AsB) detector
  • Oxford X-Max 20 SDD Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) detector

Chamber

  • 330 mm (Ø) x 270 mm (h)
  • CCD-camera with IR illumination

Specimen stage

  • 5-Axes Motorised Eucentric Specimen Stage
  • X = 130 mm, Y = 130 mm, Z = 50 mm
  • T = -3 - +70°
  • R = 360° (continuous)
  • 6-Axes Eucentric Stage
  • X = 100 mm, Y = 100 mm, Z = 42 mm, Z= 13 mm
  • T = -4 to 70°, R = 360° (continuous)

Image processing

  • Resolution: Up to 3072 x 2304 pixel, Noise reduction: Seven integration and averaging modes

Leo 1530 FEG SEM

The LEO 1530 is a high resolution scanning electron microscope (SEM) that uses a Schottky-type field-emission electron source. A beam booster is used to optimise electron optical performance at all accelerating voltages. In addition, the optical column has no crossovers and utilises a magnetic/electrostatic objective lens to minimise beam imperfections at low voltage by reducing chromatic aberration.

Specifications
Resolution

  • 1 kV / 3 nm, 20 kV / 1 nm

Magnification

  • 20X to 900,000X

Accelerating voltage

  • 200 V to 30 kV

Probe current

  • 4 pA to 10 nA

Electron gun

  • Thermal field emission type

Specimen stage

  • x=75mm, y=75mm, z=25mm
    (all motorized)
  • Working distance 2mm - 45mm+

Detectors

  • High efficiency In-lens secondary electron detector
  • Everhart-Thornley Secondary Electron Detector
  • Backscattered electron detector (Rutherford Type) Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) detector
  • Oxford (HKL) Nordlys S with high resolution CCD for high angular resolution

Image processing

  • Seven integration and averaging modes

Image store resolution

  • 512 x 384 → 3072 x 2304 pixel

Thermal tension-compression stage

  • 800°C + 5kN & 1kN load cells
  • Tilt option for combined EBSD mapping

JEOL JEM 2100 LaB₆ TEM

The JEOL JEM-2100 is a high-performance transmission electron microscope (TEM) with a Lanthanum Hexaboride (LaB₆) electron source for analyses at the atomic/molecule level in materials science, nanotechnology and life science.

Features

  • High resolution imaging with specialist characterisation capabilities of EDS, and Tomography.

Specifications

  • 200kV TEM HR version with LaB₆ source

Spot diameter

  • TEM mode: 20 to 200nm
  • EDS, NBD and CBD mode: 1.0 to 25nm

Magnification range

  • LOW MAG mode: 50x to 6,000x
  • MAG mode: 2000x to 1,500,000x

Resolution

  • Point: 0.23nm
  • Lattice 0.14nm

Image capture

  • GATAN Orius SC1000 camera: Progressive interline device, Sensor area 36x24mm, 4008x2672 pixels (9μm ea)
  • BF and HAADF STEM detectors

Additional characterisation capabilities

  • JEOL JD2300 energy dispersive X-ray analyser, Si(Li) detector, ultrathin window, 0.13 sr, B-U
  • JEOL electron tomography

JEOL JEM 2100F FEG TEM

The JEOL JEM-2100F is a high-performance transmission electron microscope (TEM) with a field emission electron source for analyses at the atomic/molecule level in materials science, nanotechnology and life science.

Features

  • High resolution imaging with specialist characterisation capabilities of EDS, EFTEM and EELS, and ACOM.

Specifications

  • 200kV TEM HR version with ZrO/W (100) field emission source

Magnification range

  • LOW MAG mode: 50x to 6,000x
  • MAG mode: 2000x to 1,500,000x

Spot diameter

  • TEM mode: 2-5nm
  • EDS, NBD & CBD mode: 0.5 to 2.4nm

Resolution

  • Point: 0.23nm
  • Lattice 0.1nm

Image capture

  • GATAN Orius SC1000 camera: Progressive interline device, Sensor area 36x24mm, 4008x2672 pixels (9μm ea)
  • BF and HAADF STEM detectors

Additional characterisation capabilities

  • JEOL JED-2300T energy dispersive X-ray analyser, dry SD30GV detector: 133eV, 30mm2 0.26 sr, B-U
  • GATAN GIF quantum 965 post column energy filter and EELS spectrometer. Energy resolution 0.10 eV FWHM
  • NanoMEGAS ASTAR automated crystal orientation and phase mapping package for TEM
  • GATAN 648 vacuum transfer holder

JEOL JSM 7800F FEG-SEM

The JSM-7800F uniquely combines an in-lens field emission gun with an aperture angle control lens (ACL), optimising large probe currents (up to 200 nA) for operation at the smallest probe diameter. The new super hybrid lens design allows high-resolution imaging of any type of specimen. The SEM performs well at low accelerating voltage X-ray spectroscopy, combining large beam currents with a small interaction volume and offering analytical resolution to the sub 100nm scale. Beam deceleration in GB Mode provides charge balance and high-resolution imaging of surfaces and nonconductive samples by effectively reducing effects of lens aberrations.

Features
Detectors

  • LED – Lower secondary electron
  • UED – Upper secondary electron
  • USD – Upper electron (SE & BSE)
  • STEM – Transmission electron
  • EBSD – Electron back scatter diffraction (Oxford nordlys-nano)
  • EDX – Energy dispersive x-ray analysis (Oxford X-max 50mm2)

Special modes

  • LD – Large depth of field
  • GB – 'Gentle Beam': Stage bias

Specifications
SEI resolution

  • 1.0nm at 15kV
  • 0.8nm at 15kV, GB mode
  • 1.5nm at 1.0kV
  • 1.2nm at 1.0 kV, GB mode
  • 3.0nm at 100V, GB mode
  • 3.0nm, 15kV, 5nA, EDS WD of 10mm

Accelerating voltage

  • 10V–30kV

Magnification range

  • 25X to 1,000,000X

Cameca LEAP 4000 HR Atom Probe

The LEAP 4000X HR is a high performance 3D atom probe microscope which provides nano-scale surface, bulk and interfacial materials analysis of simple and complex structures with atom by atom identification and accurate spatial positioning.

Current project examples

  • Investigation into deformation modes and recrystallisation of Mg alloys that includes the role of rare-earth solute distributions on hardening and segregation of solutes to grain boundaries and dislocations
  • Effect of vanadium microalloying on the stability of mechanical properties of hot rolled bainitic strip steels
  • Chemistry of nano-scale precipitates in Al alloys and high-strength low-alloy steels.

Features
Local electrode atom probe (LEAP) microscope allows atomic resolution chemical and spatial analysis in three dimensions. The LEAP 4000 HR utilises a large-angle reflectron lens to provide high mass resolution in voltage mode with a large field of view and enables differentiation between all elements and their isotopes. The local electrode design allows analysis of microtip specimens as well as conventional needle-shaped samples.

Specifications
Typical capabilities of the instrument

  • Acquisition rates of 1 to 10 million ions per hour
  • Millions to tens of millions of atoms per specimen
  • Tomographic analysis volume in the range of 50 x 50 x 200 nm
  • Spatial resolution: ~ 0.1 - 0.5 nm
  • Mass resolution: ~ 1000 (FWHM)
  • Chemical sensitivity: ~ 10 ppm