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Beside offering general electron microscopy assistance to the solid state community, ER-C scientists also conduct their own research programmes. Current focal points include scrutinising both the theoretical and the applied aspects of high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, which represents the most important analysis methods at the centre. High resolution imaging is supplemented by electron holography and spectroscopy applications and microscopic in situ experiments.

Developed largely by ER-C scientists, numerical sofware packages which allow the retrieval of exit plane wave functions together with the precise control of higher order lens aberrations are used in an increasing number of electron microscopy laboratories world-wide.

By setting up the Philips CM 200Cs at the turn of the millennium, the centre has co-designed the first spherical aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope in the world, characterised by an information limit of 1.2 Å at an acceleration voltage of 200 kV. In 2005, FEI Titan 80-300 TEM and the FEI Titan 80-300 STEM microscopes were commissioned, characterised by a TEM information limit and a STEM resolutions of 80 picometres. In bringing the FEI Titan 50-300 PICO into operation in 2012, microscopic facilties have been expanded by a unique state-of-the-art instrument equipped with correction units for chromatical and spherical correction enabing a resolution of 50 picometres to be achieved in TEM and STEM mode. With the comissioning of the FEI Titan 60-300 HOLO a further unique microscope optimised for electron holography and in situ experiments has been put in operation recently.

Current in-house materials science research projects focus on the investigation of the epitaxial growth mechanisms and the relaxation behaviour of nanostructured material combinations using advanced software-based methods of transmission electron microscopy. Relevant research projects comprise the identification of novel relaxation mechanisms together with the quantification of individual contributions towards the reduction of elastic stresses in lattice-strained heterostructures, the quantification of interdiffusion-related parameters in multilayer systems on the atomic scale as well as the measurement of dopant-induced electrical fields by means of electron holography techniques. Material classes investigated include nanostructured ceramics, complex metal alloys, semiconductor materials and oxide superconductors together with lattice defects using advanced electron microscopy techniques.


   
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