The most powerful analytical “sub-angstrom” electronic microscope in Europe is Italian: acquired by the Institute for microelectronics and microsystems of the National Research Council (Imm-Nrc), it was recently deployed in Catania at the labs of the Institute hosted at the premises of ST Microelectronics (ST), a leading manufacturer of semiconductor-based electronic components.
This record will allow to make important progress in our country in the field of sensoristic science and nanoelectronics, as well as to create a broad variety of devices.
The equipment, known as Arm 200, is part of a new class of electronic microscopes with unique features: “Its hardware configuration combines atomic spatial resolution and chemical contrast in a single image, allowing to identify each individual element of the structure of materials in all three-dimensional projections,” says Corrado Spinella, director of the Imm-Nrc.
The first microscope working at low energy – below 40 keV (kiloelectron-volt), it allows to study soft substrates and carbon-based structures like graphene, also known as the “wonder material” for its unique strength, conductivity, flexibility, and lightness.
“With this microscope we can basically observe whatever can be manipulated on an atomic scale in a material, by changing its properties and features,” says the director of the Imm-Nrc.
These features allow important technological developments. “The opportunity to investigate materials with a sub-angstrom resolution allows to create a broad range of super-fast, low-energy consumption devices, systems to store huge amounts of data, or equipment to identify biological markers in tiny amounts of fluids,” concludes Spinella.
The microscope was acquired within the framework of the project "Beyond-Nano" of the Nrc funded by the Ministry of Education, University, and Research, and of the long-standing partnership between the National Research Council and ST Microelectronics.
The Editorial Staff
Published on Monday, November 18, 2013