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A new electron microscope of high features at the Moncloa Campus

The Department of Materials Science at the UPM has just started up an electron microscope of new generation within the infrastructure programme of the Campus Moncloa: Campus of International Excellence.


The Department of Materials Science at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid has just started up an electron microscope of new generation within the infrastructure programme of the Campus Moncloa: Campus of International Excellence.

The new tool, located in the facilities of the E.T.S. Civil Engineering, is an Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FE-SEM). According to the responsible researchers for the department, the design of the tool “has a great versatility due to its modular design that allows us future extensions of the device as well as providing a high quality of imaging”. The Gemini electron optical column, in charge of leading and focusing the electrons over materials, is one of the most advanced microscopes in the current market. According to the data provided by the manufacturers, the device can achieve a resolution of 1nm in optimal conditions (one billionth of a meter, equivalent to a row of 10 atoms) at accelerating voltage of 15 kV.

Additionally, the microscope can achieve a resolution of 2 nm when we work with a difference of potential as low as 1kv. “Apart from the image quality”, said José Ygnacio Pastor, a Professor of the Department and the UPM Coordinator for the cluster of Materials for the Future, “the electron microscope is a tool that allows us to have access to a huge amount of information, from chemical composition of materials to their crystallographic orientation.

Therefore, it is important to take measures that come simultaneously from diverse sensors, it is also relevant that the sample to study can be handled easily once the camera is set up, and finally, that the device is hardy and adaptable to numerous situations and needs. This equipment will allow the Moncloa Campus to head toward the excellence and the international leadership.

In fact, the vacuum chamber of the new microscope is significantly bigger than previous versions what will allow researchers to accommodate a device inside the chamber to perform mechanical microarrays. “Due to the needs of a Department as ours, the possibility to observe in live the mechanisms of deformation and damage in materials mean an important technological advance” said Professor Jesús Ruíz.

The microscope was purchased thanks to the co-funding provided by the Equipment Acquisition Program and Scientific-Technical Infrastructure Adequacy (CAIMON) and other research projects.

A researcher responsible for the department said, “Although there are already microscopes in Madrid, particularly there are excellent units of microscopy at the Ciudad Universitaria, this new tool is a complementary element regarding to other installations, and it can hopefully contribute to establish new collaborations within and beyond the CIE Moncloa”. It is expected that the new microscope will be fully operating in the coming weeks.

The main research lines and projects that this tool will benefit in this first stage will be:

1. Development of materials to be used for advanced fusion reactors.
2. Advanced superconductors of second generation.
3. Materials against impacts.
4. Characterization of damage by irradiation of materials made of nuclear fuel containers.
5. Durability of reinforced concrete by synergistic actions strength and environmental.

Tag: General Affairs    Source: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

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Ministry of Education, Culture & Sports CEI Campus of International Excellence Ministry of Economy & Competitiveness
Funded project by the Ministry of Education, Culture & Sports, and the Ministry of Economy & Competitiveness within the framework of the Campus of International Excellence
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