Penn State Acquires Titan Electron Microscope

We all know that Penn State is highly regarded one of the best science and engineering schools and as a world-class research institution. Well, now we’re getting another weapon in our research arsenal. The Titan3 S/TEM (that’s scanning/transmission electron microscope for all you non-engineering nerds) is one of the world’s most powerful electron microscopes, and it is on it’s way to it’s new home in the Millenium Science Complex.

The Titan3 G2 Double Aberration Corrected 60-300kV TEM/STEM/EDX/EELS (yes, that is the full name) by FEI Company is on the cutting edge of technological advancement in imaging technology. Without getting into too much technical mumbo jumbo, here are some of its capabilities:

  • Wide range of characterization techniques, including S/TEM (scanning/transmission electron microscopy), EDS (energy dispersive spectroscopy), and EELS (electron energy loss spectroscopy).
  • 70 picometer resolution in S/TEM mode. Yes, you read that right. 70 picometers is 7-11 meters. To give you a sense of how small that is, consider that a single gold atom is about 288 picometers across. This means that the Titan3 S/TEM can see individual atoms on the surface of the sample.
  • Double aberration correction. The Titan3 uses a system of magnetic lenses to eliminate the imperfections intrinsic to most imaging devices. This increases the overall imaging resolution.

The Titan3 is expected to make breakthroughs in materials and life sciences. It will allow researchers to study nanoscale structures like never before, and increase our understanding of a wide range of materials, like nanomaterials, semiconductors, ceramics, metals, and polymers. In addition to the Titan3, the acquisition includes another electron microscope for studying biological materials, which will also be located in the Millenium Science Complex.

Right now, we can only speculate on the coming advancements in the materials and biological sciences. But when the Titan3 is installed in early 2013, we will certainly accelerate towards these breakthroughs like never before.

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Zack Rutstein

Penn State 5th-year Materials Science and Engineering student, Onward State Arts Editor, Musician


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