The Value of In Situ

State-of-the-art research and Conventional TEM

Every aspect of basic nanoscale sciences, as well as commercial production of nanotechnologies are dependent upon the capacity of instruments and methodologies to measure, sense, fabricate, and manipulate matter at the nanoscale.

Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) has the advantage over other characterization techniques in that it is descriptive, producing images of objects that are directly related to a material’s structure, morphology, and composition.

History has shown that the ‘understanding’ of matter has persistently been the preceding step of any advancement in technology and products.

  • The boom and success of the everyday car would not have been possible without the understanding and knowledge of steel manufacturing.
  • The extremely fast growing electronic devices industry would not have been possible without the availability of semiconductor materials.
  • Without the research on catalysts, common chemical processes would remain inefficient and environmentally damaging and in some cases even dangerous.

A widely accepted model to describe the research process goes as follows:

  1. A user demand emerges which requires an improvement of the property and/or performance of a material.
  2. Scientists in academia and/or R&D investigate (new) materials to better understand the relationship between its structure and its properties in more detail.
  3. Based on increased understanding of the structure-property relationship, the materials optimum performance can be defined.
  4. The processing & synthesis procedure is then improved in order to obtain a material with desired structure and the intended properties & relating performances.

The Current Limitations of Conventional TEM

Conventional TEM’s primarily act as an imaging tool to characterize structures of materials.

In the last few years, state-of-the-art TEM’s have enabled atomic resolution imaging and analysis, which has been achieved through the use of image or probe aberration-corrected TEM’s. The performance of these TEM’s as an imaging tool has proven to be extremely valuable in identifying various material structures.

However, these conventional TEM’s are still unable to support the whole research process. The reason is that conventional TEM is unable to replicate real-world environmental conditions (heating, gas, liquid, etc.) as the sample is always introduced into a high vacuum, static, environment.

This fundamentally limits the value and obtainable benefits of a TEM.

The Power of In-Situ TEM

Observing processes ‘on-site’ as they are occurring and under changing external stimuli is the paramount goal of in-situ, time resolved techniques.

DENSsolutions utilizes MEMS devices, called Nano-Chips, to control the sample’s environmental surroundings and replicate real-life application conditions inside your TEM (see image above). The introduction of in-situ capabilities into a TEM, transforms the system from a static imaging tool into a multi-functional laboratory.

With DENSsolutions in-situ microscopy solutions, researchers are now able to characterize structures, measure properties, evaluate performance and optimize processes & synthesis.

All in one ultimate system!

By incorporating all stages of the development model, in-situ TEM unlocks unprecedented research capabilities and move Nanoscience to the next level.