The very image of a cutting-edge nanotechnology tool


You might think a scientific tool called the Titan would be used to study gargantuan things, but FEI’s Titan scanning/transmission electron microscope peers into the diminutive - in fact, the smallest ever seen by a commercial instrument. The Titan works at the sub-Angstrom level: it can examine objects as small as seven-hundredths of a nanometer.

In July FEI announced a new version of the Titan that uses a range of energies, from 300 kV down to just 80kV. The lower energy lets scientists study delicate materials, such as single-wall carbon nanotubes that are normally damaged by higher energies.

As nanomaterials enter mainstream manufacturing, many industries find themselves in the market for ultra-high resolution imaging technologies. For example, aerospace and auto manufacturers depend on high-performance materials, and those materials need to be increasingly light and strong to improve performance and fuel economy. Materials that spring from nanotechnology, like carbon nanotubes, will play a key role. And the parts made from them can’t fail; their makers need to see what’s going on at the nanoscale to make sure that they don’t.

FEI’s Titan 80-300 raised the bar for S/TEM imaging with sub-Angstrom imaging. Photo courtesy of FEI
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Hence, Titan. Interest has been lively so far. Hillsboro, Ore.-based FEI started shipping the Titan a little over a year ago, and it has already attracted more than 30 customers, including Brazil’s National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality; Canada’s National Facility for Ultrahigh-Resolution Electron Microscopy at McMaster University; the Center for Accelerated Maturation of Materials at Ohio State; the Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis of the Fritz-Haber Institute in Germany; the Ernst Ruska Center of Germany; Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology; the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands and others. Need we say more?

The Titan has garnered its share of awards too, including the iF Design Award from the International Design Forum in Hannover, Germany, and the Innovative Product of the Year Award through the Oregon Tech Awards program.

AcryMed SilvaGard

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Thousands of people die every year from infections acquired in the hospital. AcryMed Inc.’s SilvaGard technology adds antimicrobial silver nanoparticles to the subsurface of medical devices - tubes, catheters, implants - and makes them impervious to bacteria. The technology recently garnered U.S. FDA approval. Device manufacturers are interested.
Photo courtesy of AcryMed

Fiberstars EFO

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What business doesn’t want to reduce its lighting bill? Fiberstars Inc.’s Efficient Fiber Optics lighting could cut it by up to 80 percent, and the components can be almost completely recycled. Whole Foods Market uses EFO in 12 stores and, in addition to energy savings, the company has cut its losses on perishable goods by one-third because EFO generates no heat.
Photo courtesy of Fiberstars

Oxonica SERS Nanotags

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SERS Nanotags, by Oxonica Inc., are 50-nanometer gold beads that can be coated with a unique marker and various molecules that bind to a target for detection - DNA, antibodies, security tags. The nanotags cut prep time for diagnostic tests and can detect up to 20 different factors simultaneously.
Photo courtesy of Oxonica

SiTime SiRes product family

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SiTime Corp.’s SiRes MEMS-based oscillators and resonators aim to replace the quartz resonating crystals that provide the “heartbeat” of every commercial electronic device. Quartz crystals can’t be integrated into a silicon chip, but SiTime has sealed its oscillator below the surface of the chip, making one neat package.
Photo courtesy of SiTime