FEI joins with FOM to develop single-atom imaging
10 January 2007
FEI Company, a leading developer of electron
microscopes, and the Netherlands-based Foundation for Fundamental Research
on Matter (FOM), have announced a joint nanotechnology research project to
develop a new generation of microscopes.
The goal of the project is to advance electron microscopes and focused
ion beam systems (FIBs) so that the structure of materials can be made
visible and processed at the single-atom scale.
The project forms part of FOM's mission to link leading academic and
industrial physical research centres in Industrial Partnership Programs
(IPPs) to realize specific commercial goals.
The research program will
have a two-fold focus. The first is to advance and fully harness the
potential that lies in existing electron microscopes and ion beam systems
for a full range of applications in physics and biology. The second focus of
the program will include researching the interaction between electron beams,
ion beams, laser light and matter. This will result in much-needed
fundamental innovations for future generations of microscopes and focused
ion beam systems.
“Material processing at the atomic level is a primary emphasis at FEI and an
area to which we devote extensive research,” explains Frank de Jong, FEI
Company's director of research and technology. “However, beyond making
structures visible, we need to make the transition from static to moving
images. Five years from now, we want to be able not only to change an atomic
structure but also to see it happening. This will require new breakthroughs
in both knowledge and technology and the range of skills that this effort
requires is vast. This cooperative effort with academic partners will bring
the best resources available to the program.”
High expectations are
currently being placed on nanotechnology discovery and development in terms
of providing innovative solutions to a range of social challenges such as
clean and renewable energy sources, water management, healthcare and food
supply. Continued breakthroughs in research and development need to be
achieved in both science and industry if nanotechnology is to meet these
FOM and FEI believe that the results of the program will
benefit a wide range of industries including microelectronics, chemistry and
catalysis, biosciences and pharmaceuticals, and the automotive industry.
The FOM-FEI research program has a five-year term and a total budget of
€2.7 million. As well as providing
financial input, FEI Company will also make a highly advanced focused ion
beam (FIB) system available to project researchers.
The program will run at TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, the FOM Institute AMOLF
and FEI laboratories in the Netherlands and the United States.