We are using state-of-the-art imaging, spectroscopy and diffraction based electron microscopy techniques, both in-situ and ex-situ, to understand materials and provide a link to simulations. When state-of-the-art techniques do not provide sufficient answers, we tackle research problems by dedicated method developments.
We are focusing on three main methdology areas in repsonse to the needs of our collaborations partners, developing approaches for dedicated structural and functional analysis of materials at the atomic or nanoscale.
While radiation damage in electron microscopy is no research topic by itself, understanding the implications especially for in-situ TEM is absolutely essential for a meaningful interpretation of results. Therefore, it is important to develop approaches to evaluate damage in different materials and at different levels. In addition to the well established approach follwoing the fading of the diffraction pattern, we are using PDF analysis to look into changes in armohpous materials and understand the different steps of the degradation. Independent of the structural changes, in-situ conductivity measurements turned out to be a very sensitive probe of beam induced functional changes in materials.
Sample handling, in particular of air sensitive samples, can be challenging and often limits practical work. Therefore, we are working on approaches to prepare dedicated samples for TEM testing and remote controled approaches to handle TEM grids.
In addition, we are developing improved approaches for FIB prepration, minimizing the mechanical impact and the electron/ion dose and gas injection needed for TEM sample preparation to provide samples as closely as possible representing the native state of a material for further analysis.