FEI has announced that it has completed the installation of a suite of high-end electron microscopes at Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) new Centre for Soft Materials. The systems installed include the Tecnai Osiris™ transmission electron microscope (TEM) and Helios™ DualBeam™ (scanning electron microscope/focused ion beam). These systems join several other FEI microscopes in the 4D LABS facility, Vancouver, British Columbia, where the new, multi-million dollar center is housed.
“To accommodate the unique needs of soft materials processing and characterization, SFU’s 4D LABS has partnered with Canada’s Western Economic Diversification, the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, Systems for Research and FEI to create the Centre for Soft Materials,” said Byron Gates, associate professor and Canada research chair in surface chemistry, Department of Chemistry at SFU.
Gates continued, “We are implementing specialized microscope equipment and methods optimized for ‘soft’ materials that are easily damaged by high-energy particle beam analytical techniques. Materials in this vital class range from simple polymers and composites to cells and tissues. By improving our understanding of them we will be better able to design new materials and products for applications that include medicine, clean energy, information technology and many more.”
The Centre’s Helios DualBeam system offers cryogenic transfer and analysis capabilities. Its focused ion beam (FIB) can slice into the soft material with minimal damage and its SEM provides high-resolution images of the revealed cross-sectional surface for three-dimensional (3D) analysis.
The Osiris TEM provides a highly efficient way to analyze samples that are sensitive to particle beams by using fast, high-resolution imaging and optimized compositional analysis using a unique and patented X-ray detection system.
Cryogenic holders can also be used in the Osiris for inspection of samples while cooled. This combination of low-dose, fast, high-resolution imaging; 3D reconstruction; and elemental analysis provide a unique set of capabilities for soft material analysis that was previously unavailable to researchers in Western Canada.
According to Trisha Rice, vice president and general manager of the Materials Science Business Unit, Science Group, FEI, “We are delighted to complete the installation of the Osiris and Helios systems at SFU’s new research facility. Globally, there is increasing interest in engineering polymers and composite materials as replacements for existing materials used in electronics, automotive and other industrial materials applications. We expect these new microscopes to provide SFU researchers with the capabilities they need to understand and improve the performance of soft materials in real-world conditions. These new microscopes also give the students an opportunity for hands-on training in advanced microscopy systems.”