From nearly 60 submissions for the 2017 WITec Paper Award, our jury selected the three best publications. They were written by scientists from Ireland, Portugal and Germany who used WITec correlative confocal Raman microscopes to study transition metal dichalcogenides, textile fibers and ce ... more
PICO and SALVE: Understanding the subatomic world better
DFG-funded instrumentation enables world-class research in electron microscopy
Two new high-resolution transmission electron microscopes, co-financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), are set to open up new opportunities for research in physics and materials science. The new research microscopes at RWTH Aachen University and the University of Ulm will enable exceptional, state-of-the-art developments in the field of electron optics in Germany and be available to a broad group of users.
"With these new microscopes, Germany has the great opportunity to stay right at the cutting edge of electron microscopy," said Burkhard Jahnen, who is responsible for projects in materials science, engineering and electron microscopy at the DFG's Head Office. Thanks to these state-of-the-art microscopes it will not only be possible to study new materials at higher resolution in the future, for example for research in the fields of energy or information and communication technology, it will also open up an entirely new field of materials science that has been impossible to study to date with existing electron-optical techniques.
The "PICO" (Advanced Picometer Resolution Project) microscope, which has been approved for the RWTH Aachen, will extend the resolution that can be achieved by electron microscopes to a hitherto unimaginable scale. It will be the first microscope in the world to be capable of detecting the position of atoms to a resolution of 50 picometers – one picometer is one hundredth of the diameter of an atom – thus doubling the performance of the current generation of electron microscopes.
This will not only make it possible to see individual atoms, but also to measure the interatomic distance and atomic motion to an accuracy of approximately one picometer. At the same time, it will be possible to investigate the nature of the atoms by spectroscopic analysis and study their chemical bonds.
The DFG is providing 2.5 million euros in funding for the PICO project, which will cost approximately 15 million euros in total, which will be matched by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) will provide funding for additional components for the microscope and finance some of the required building work. The new microscope will be located at the Ernst Ruska Centre (ER-C) for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons, which is operated by the RWTH Aachen and the Jülich Research Centre. The ER-C is one of the leading international research centres in the field of ultra-high resolution electron microscopy.
The resolution of the SALVE (Sub-Ångstrøm Low Voltage Transmission Electron Microscopy) project's low-voltage transmission electron microscope at the University of Ulm poses a serious challenge to researchers. The main focus of this five-year project is on imaging individual atoms in materials for applications in nanotechnology that are sensitive to the energy of the electron beam that would quickly be destroyed in conventional electron microscopy. The project plans to use low acceleration voltages that have barely been used in practice in electron microscopes to date, while simultaneously applying state-of-the-art electron-optical methods.
This new microscope will make it possible to reveal molecular structures and follow molecular processes, allowing researchers to unlock the secrets of chemical reactions. The DFG is providing 4.2 million euros in funding for the project, which will cost approximately 11.5 million euros in total, while the state of Baden-Württemberg will provide 2.4 million euros and a further 3.7 million euros, including an endowed chair, will be funded by Carl Zeiss AG from Oberkochen.
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Following the successful completion of a two-year evaluation phase, the University of Ulm, the Heidelberg-based company CEOS GmbH and Carl Zeiss Nano Technology Systems have signed an agreement to embark on the next phase of the SALVE project. SALVE – which stands for Sub-Angstrom Low Volta ... more
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has approved funding for ten additional core facilities to make existing research instrumentation more easily and efficiently accessible to researchers. This decision was made by the DFG's Joint Committee. The projects wi ... more
Two novel testing facilities for materials research will be provided to the Technical University of Braunschweig and Hamburg University of Technology by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). For the first time in a university environment, these two major ins ... more
A new three-dimensional model of the brain now provides in-depth insights into the human control centre. It allows us to see and understand the complicated structure of the brain on a microscopic level in all three spatial dimensions for the first time. This is made possible using images wi ... more
Promega and BASF have jointly developed an alternative method to animal studies that can reliably detect the allergenic potential of substances. Using a newly developed cell line, the reaction of skin cells to allergenic substances can now be demonstrated in the test tube. Allergic skin rea ... more
A portable device makes it possible for the first time ever to take high-resolution NMR spectroscopy out of the laboratory and into the field for use on samples of any size. This portable NMR sensor was developed by a collaboration of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrenc ... more
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