SC1000B Gatan Digital Camera for Transmission Electron Microscope
About the Instrument:
“If you can imagine replacing a digital camera from six years ago with a new one, that’s the difference,” says Richard Tilley, the former head of the Electron Microscope facility at Victoria University. The new TEM camera is used for recording both images and electron diffraction patterns. It’s more sensitive than the old one – you can take a picture in a shorter time to get the same intensity to the image. This fast imaging speed enables you to make videos. It is a bigger camera so it captures more of the sample at a time and it has a better dynamic range, which means that it can take pictures with extremes of bright and dark. “It just makes life a lot easier,” says Richard. Without the MacDiarmid funding it would have been impossible to buy the new camera.
“If you want to publish good papers in good quality journals,” Richard says, “you need quality images.” The new camera ensures this. Perhaps the most exciting new feature is the ability to take videos of particles moving and interacting. Richard has been working with computer simulation expert, Shaun Hendy and physicist Simon Brown analysing the movements of gold nanoparticles sintering and melting together under the microscope. The new camera, because of its high dynamic range, can take pictures of electron diffraction patterns, which reveal crystal structures. In the past they had to use old fashioned photographic film and develop them by hand. It was a messy, laborious and expensive process. The film cost about $5,000 a year and is becoming redundant and almost impossible to source.
As the supervisor of one of the busiest hubs in the MacDiarmid Institute Richard Tilley worked very hard to make sure the microscopes are as widely used as possible. Apart from groups at Victoria, the TEM is used by MacDiarmid research groups from Canterbury, Massey, Auckland and CallaghanInnovation. The new camera will be a boost to all these research programs.
Thomas Nann et al. Nanomaterials and their mesoscopic properties have fascinated many scientists in recent years. The general public associates Nanotechnology probably more with microscopic robots as depicted in Figure 1. Figure 1: Artistic view of a micro-submarine in a blood vessel. CONEYL JAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY To date, there is still a huge […]