LONDON Carl Zeiss SMT (Oberkochen, Germany) has embarked on an 11.5 million euros (about $14.7 million) project called SALVE to develop low-voltage transmission electron microscopy.
Carl Zeiss is working with the University of Ulm and CEOS GmbH (Heidelberg, Germany) on the project, which is intended to run for five years. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is contributing 4.2 million euros (about $5.4 million). Carl Zeiss is supporting the project with funds totaling 3.7 million euros (about $4.7 million).
SALVE stands for Sub-Angstrom Low Voltage Electron microscopy. The objective is to develop transmission electron microscopes (TEM) that will image samples with atomic resolution using relatively low accelerating voltage as compared to the current generation of medium-voltage TEMs that destroy radiation-sensitive samples before useable images can be recorded.
Today, achieving the desired resolution requires special, theoretical correctors that help to correct image aberrations in order to utilize the information of all interacting electrons. Although those correctors have been described theoretically, they do not yet exist.
The task of building the correctors has been given to CEOS, which has worked on electron optical systems in various projects. Teams at the University of Ulm will develop applications and examine methods of specimen preparation parallel to the development of the system at Carl Zeiss.
"This new high-performance microscope will enable us for the first time to image electron-beam-sensitive samples and monitor molecular processes that contribute to decoding chemical conversions. Knowledge of these processes is vital for many areas of application in materials sciences, biomedical research and in semiconductor technology," said Professor Ute Kaiser of the University of Ulm in a statement.