Transmission electron microscopy at DIFFER

November 7th 2018

Since the summer of 2018, DIFFER houses a transmission electron microscope (TEM) that is dedicated for structural analysis of inorganic materials. The microscope is accessible for researchers who want to image newly developed nanomaterials or thin films aimed at energy applications.

NEA group with the TEM at DIFFER

Andrea Baldi, group leader of DIFFER’s Nanomaterials for Energy Applications group, didn’t hesitate when Japanese manufacturer JEOL offered him the opportunity to acquire a second-hand High Contrast 200kV Electron Microscope. TEM is a technique that uses the interaction of energetic electrons with a thin slice of material to provide information about its morphology, composition and crystallography.

DIFFER will further strengthen its multidisciplinary approach among the two research themes of Solar Fuels and Fusion Energy and has therefore decided to dedicate some of its strategic budget to acquire and operate this microscope that can be used for energy materials research.

The microscope is optimized for structural characterization and electron diffraction measurements on inorganic materials. With this microscope, which has a nominal resolution of 0.2 nanometers, it is possible to image materials down to the atomic level. ‘In my group, we synthesize nanomaterials with sizes ranging between around 1 to 100 nanometers. It is extremely valuable to have a direct image of the structures we prepare in the lab. The combination of electron imaging and diffraction allows us to assess the overall structure as well as the crystalline or amorphous nature of our materials, something which is of extreme relevance for example in the development of photoactive materials for energy conversion applications.’ Through a collaboration with the facilities of the Nanolab@TU/e, DIFFER has the possibility to prepare samples in case the samples cannot directly be imaged in the TEM.

Besides Baldi’s, other DIFFER groups stand to benefit from the presence of a TEM, including the Plasma Material Interactions group of Thomas Morgan, the Electrochemical Materials and Interfaces group of Anja Bieberle and the Catalytic and Electrochemical Processes for Energy Applications group of Michail Tsampas. DIFFER hopes that the ease of access to such an advanced instrument in house will also foster interactions and collaborations, for example with the Eindhoven University of Technology and the Fontys University of Applied Sciences.

The DIFFER TEM is a JEOL High Contrast 200kV Electron Microscope, model JEM-2100 (LaB6).
For more information please contact Stefan Welzel, +31 40 3334 770, S [368] Welzel [28] differ [368] nl (subject: TEM)

Iron oxide film

TEM image of silver nanoparticles

Electron diffraction of gold metal nanoparticles