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Super powerful STEM pinpoints single atoms

24th February 2015


A new super powerful STEM (Scanning Transition Electron Microscope) that can pinpoint the position of single atoms, helping scientists push field boundaries of advanced materials, healthcare and power generation, has been unveiled by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).

The £3.7 million Nion Hermes STEM, one of only three in the world, is sited at the EPSRC SuperSTEM facility at the Daresbury laboratory complex near Warrington, part of the ATFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council).

Not only does the microscope allow imaging of unprecedented resolution of objects, but it also allows analysis of materials. Researchers will not only be able to clearly identify atoms, but also to observe the bond strenght between them. This will improve also understand  their electronic properties when in bulk and how they may perform when used.

 “The UK is a world leader in development and application of STEM techniques, and this new super-powerful microscope will ensure we remain world-class, “ says Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities. “From developing new materials for space travel to creating a better, cheaper treatment for anaemia, this super-powerful microscope lets UK scientists examine how materials behave at a level a million times smaller than a human hair.”

 “EPSRC investment in state-of-the-art equipment is an investment in UK science and engineering,” noted Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s CEO. “It will give scientists access to a tool that can delve into the heart of materials, discoveries made using this microscope will aid research and lead to innovations that benefit society and our economy. EPSRC SuperSTEM facility at Daresbury has already delivered us new knowledge and applications and this new equipment will continue that pedigree."





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