QUT has recently purchased a TESCAN MIRA3 FEG-SEM (Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope) and Thermo Scientific UltraDry EDS (Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy) system from AXT. This high performance SEM will be installed at the Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF), a purpose-built laboratory that houses state-of-the-art instruments for analysing the physical, mechanical, chemical and biological properties of solids, liquids and gases.
The SEM features a high-brightness Schottky emitter allowing users to generate high resolution images with low noise and resolution down to 1nm. Their system is built around the large XMU chamber which gives them the flexibility to analyse samples as large as 300mm wide. The SEM will allow them to investigate their materials at the micro and nano-level. By imaging structures at this level, they will be able to better understand how they behave.
QUT’s MIRA also includes BDM (Beam Deceleration Mode) imaging that will allow them to more easily image sensitive samples such as nanoparticles and biological under low vacuum conditions which more accurately replicate ambient operating conditions. The included Peltier stage also allows them to investigate how samples behave at temperatures between -70 and 50°C.
When combined with the Thermo Scientific EDS system, QUT researchers will be able to look at the elemental composition of their samples. By looking at the homogeneity, elemental distribution and changes in composition using the most comprehensive Pinnacle analytical software package, researchers will gain a valuable insight into the relationships between chemistry and performance.
Dr. Jamie Riches was key to the SEM/EDS acquisition and will be a power user of the new system. When asked why his team selected the TESCAN MIRA, he replied, “The MIRA offered a host of features that we felt would be beneficial to our facility which caters to users from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. In particular, the image quality produced by the in-lens detector and the large chamber were very attractive and, the system offered the best price to performance ratio of the systems tested.”
“This is the first Tescan microscope that we have purchased and we’re looking forward to having it installed and adding to the capability in our lab. We already envisage it being used to investigate such things as polymer scaffolds for bone healing, corrosion studies on stainless steel through to multi-layer materials for solar cell devices. In addition, the EBL (Electron Beam Lithography) system will be a useful complement to the ion beam instruments that we have for device preparation, while the plasma cleaner will help us control contaminants in the column from samples that may breakdown on exposure to the electron beam in vacuo.”
AXT represents TESCAN in Australia and New Zealand. They will be responsible for installation, training and maintenance of the system.