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Wednesday, 08 June 2022

New advanced electron microscopy equipment (METCAM-FIB) delivered at the ALBA Synchrotron

The new Monochromated (Scanning) Transmission Electron Microscope ((S)TEM) with Aberration Correctors –bought as part of the METCAM-FIB project, led by the ICN2 and funded via EDRF-FEDER— will be installed at the nearby ALBA Synchrotron facilities. This equipment and the new Focus Ion Beam (FIB) recently set at the ICN2 will form a platform for advanced and precise microscopy, accessible to both internal and external users.

The new equipment we were eagerly waiting to receive is finally here: the Monochromated (Scanning) Transmission Electron Microscope ((S)TEM) with Aberration Correctors (MACTEM, or METCAM in Spanish/Catalan) has arrived at the ALBA Synchrotron facilities. 24 heavy boxes, for a total of 9000kg, were delivered today and its assembly has already started. The acquisition of this advanced tool for microscopy has been made possible by the METCAM-FIB project, co-funded by ERDF-FEDER Funds, and led by ICREA Prof. Jordi Arbiol, head of the ICN2 Advanced Electron Nanoscopy Group.

The new microscope will be included in the electron microscopy centre that is being developed at the ALBA Synchrotron, while the Focus Ion Beam (FIB) for advanced sample preparation has already been delivered a few months ago at the ICN2 facilities and is now part of the Electron Microscopy Unit of our institute. The access to both instruments will be open to any institution asking for it and it will be managed by the ALBA-Synchrotron User Office, in collaboration with the ICN2 Electron Microscopy Unit.

The introduction of this new powerful equipment in the portfolio of microscopy instrumentation available to researchers at the ICN2, the partners involved in the METCAM-FIB project, as well as research institutes and companies in Catalonia, represents a leap forward in materials science and nanotechnology, as it will allow precise atomic-scale studies, which are especially relevant for the development and characterisation of 2D materials and quantum nanomaterials.

Watch a short video of the delivery. 


About the METCAM-FIB Project

The METCAM-FIB project is funded via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF-FEDER) for cooperative projects for the creation, construction, acquisition and improvement of shared scientific and technological equipment and platforms.

The aim of this project is the creation of an electron microscopy (EM) centre at the ALBA-CELLS Synchrotron, with the acquisition and implementation of advanced electron microscopy and sample preparation equipment. Transmission electron microscopy (with aberration correction) gives access to atomic resolution and, consequently, to a new dimension in the search for molecular structures, both biological and material. These types of advanced characterisation tools are absolutely necessary for both research institutes and industrial partners in the Barcelona area.

METCAM-FIB is based on and reinforces the synergy and collaboration of different Catalan research institutions. The consortium that proposed the project includes two Severo Ochoa research centres, i.e. the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) and the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), the Spanish Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) and, of course, the ALBA Synchrotron. In addition, the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) collaborates in the project through a direct contribution as a private entity, and research groups from several of its centres, such as ICIQ and ICFO, support the project. Microsoft, as an industrial leader in computing, has also provided sponsorship for the project.