Florida State gets powerful new JEOL microscope

April 29, 2009: Scientists at Florida State University (FSU) will finally be able to clearly see what misoriented atoms are up to along the defects of the new materials that they are developing and how they relate to neighbors, when the school takes delivery of a new JEOL atomic resolution Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (S/TEM) later this year.

FSU’s Applied Superconductivity Center, housed in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory; the High Performance Materials Institute in Tallahassee, FL; scientists at FSU; and even more broadly throughout Florida, will soon have access to the highest resolution (80 picometers) of any commercially available S/TEM in its class, according to a news release.

The imaging and analytical resolution of the new JEOL 200kV S/TEM will make it possible to directly observe atomic position, chemical composition, and electronic bonding information that is crucial to development of novel materials with the highest performance. Typical materials are superconductors, lightweight high performance composites, semiconductors, biomaterials, catalyses, materials for fuel cells and high strength metallic materials.

“It’s great that multiple fine institutes and centers exist on this campus and can agree to collectively invest on behalf of a large number of people,” said Dr. David Larbalestier, one of the world’s foremost materials scientists and director of Florida State University’s Applied Superconductivity Center.

FSU’s National High Field Magnet Lab (NHFML) researches the properties of powerful new superconducting materials, such as YBCO, BSCCO, and the recently discovered pnictides. The NHFML is home to hybrid and high field magnets including one with the world’s highest magnetic field (45 tesla, nearly a million times that of the earth in its orbit). The High-Performance Materials Institute (HPMI) will utilize the TEM in its efforts toward developing multifunctional nanocomposites.

“This new JEOL STEM in full analytical mode will let us perform analysis at the single atom level that we dreamed of then, but which has been out of our grasp until now,” said Larbalestier. “The new machine is ideal for settling this type of problem. We should soon provide the capabilities to produce multifunctional materials that will make transportation more energy efficient, affordable, and safer.”

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