New advanced electron microscope equipment delivered to ALBA Synchrotron

By June 9, 2022June 28th, 2022BIST, ICN2

• The new Monochromated (Scanning) Transmission Electron Microscope with Aberration Correctors has been delivered to ALBA Synchrotron to be installed at the facilities.

• The project, which is led by the BIST centre ICN2, is a collaboration of several Catalan research institutes and aims to make Barcelona a hub of excellence in Europe for advanced electron microscopy.

• The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) initiated the collaborative project in 2016 and now supports it through direct contribution as a private entity. Research groups from ICFO and ICIQ, two BIST centres, also support the initiative.

The new Monochromated (Scanning) Transmission Electron Microscope ((S)TEM) with Aberration Correctors (MACTEM, or METCAM in Catalan and Spanish) has arrived at the ALBA Synchrotron facilities. Twenty-four heavy boxes, for a total of 9000kg, were delivered this week and its assembly has begun. The acquisition of this advanced tool for microscopy was made possible by the METCAM-FIB project, co-funded by ERDF-FEDER Funds, and led by ICREA Prof. Jordi Arbiol, head of the ICN2 Advanced Electron Nanoscopy Group. The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) first initiated the project collaboration in 2016 and now supports it through direct contribution and facilitating research groups from ICFO and ICIQ, two BIST centres.

The new microscope will be included in the electron microscopy centre being developed at the ALBA Synchrotron, while the Focus Ion Beam (FIB) for advanced sample preparation was already delivered a few months ago to the ICN2 facilities and is now part of the Electron Microscopy Unit of the institute. Access to both instruments will be open to any institution requesting it, and will be managed by the ALBA Synchrotron User Office, in collaboration with the ICN2 Electron Microscopy Unit.

The addition of this new powerful equipment to the portfolio of microscopy instrumentation available to researchers at the ICN2, the partners involved in the METCAM-FIB project, as well as research institutes and companies in Catalonia, represents a leap forward in materials science and nanotechnology, as it will allow precise atomic-scale studies, which are especially relevant for the development and characterisation of 2D materials and quantum nanomaterials.

More about the METCAM-FIB Project

The METCAM-FIB project is funded via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF-FEDER) for cooperative projects for the creation, construction, acquisition, and improvement of shared scientific and technological equipment and platforms.

The aim of this project is the creation of an electron microscopy (EM) centre at the ALBA-CELLS Synchrotron, with the acquisition and implementation of advanced electron microscopy and sample preparation equipment. Transmission electron microscopy (with aberration correction) gives access to atomic resolution and, consequently, to a new dimension in the search for molecular structures, both biological and material. These types of advanced characterisation tools are absolutely necessary for both research institutes and industrial partners in the Barcelona area.

METCAM-FIB is based on and reinforces the synergy and collaboration of various Catalan research institutions. The consortium that proposed the project includes two Severo Ochoa research centres, i.e. the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) and the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), the Spanish Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) and, of course, the ALBA Synchrotron. In addition, the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) collaborates in the project through a direct contribution as a private entity, and research groups from several of its centres, such as ICIQ and ICFO, support the project. Microsoft, as an industrial leader in computing, has also provided sponsorship.

Learn more on the ICN2 website.