Spotlight – on closer inspection

Materials World magazine
3 Aug 2015

Khai Trung Le explores the latest developments in the field of analysis and microscopy.

With microscopy often on the forefront of scientific discovery, ensuring that you are keeping up to date with the latest developments remains of paramount importance.

TA Instruments, Germany, unveiled a new measurement system for microscopy under flow. The Modular Microscope Accessory for the Discovery Hybrid Rheometer aids flow visualisation in systems including emulsions and colloidal suspensions. Mounting directly to the rheometer, the system seeks to provide temperature-controlled microscopy at magnifications as high as 100x and may be operated in bright field, fluorescent or polarised light conditions.

In the USA, Rice University has installed two new microscopes, including one of the most powerful in the country, to allow researchers, scientists and industrial partners to view and analyse materials at angstrom-scale. The FEI Titan Themis scanning/transmission electron microscope features a 4K-resolution camera, while the Helios NanoLab 600 DualBeam will be employed for 3D imaging, analysis of larger samples and preparation of thin samples to be explored with the Titan. Both have been installed with vibration-dampening capabilities to help ensure isolation from vibration, electric fields and acoustic noise.

Picoquant, in Germany, released two new laser modules. The VisIR-765 STED and VisVU offer pulse-widths optimised for stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy and fluorescence lifetime applications respectively. The VisIR-767 STED emits at 766nm, allowing for variable repetition rates, and delivers an optical output power of up to 1.5W with a laser pulse width of 500 picoseconds. The VisUV laser is able to generate light at 266nm, 355nm and 532nm.

A subsidiary of Japanese company Panasonic, Industrial Medical Vision, has launched the GP-KH232HA, a high sensitivity micro camera intended for industrial and medical markets. The camera-head includes a 1/3 type full HD single MOF sensor, allowing the camera head to operate at a minimum illumination of 5lx at F1.4. The unit comes with HDMI, RGB, SDI and S-Video output. The remote camera head is suitable for use with the Panasonic IMV 1 MOS micro camera control units GP-KH232CUE and GPKH232CSE.

Finally, also from Japan, Applied Rigaku Technologies has launched the Rigaku NEX DE direct excitation energy dispersive X-ray fluorescent (EDXRF) elemental analyser. Touted for heavy industrial use, the EDXRF is equipped with a 60kV, 12W X-ray tube, claimed to result in improvements to elemental peak resolution. This high voltage enables multi-element analysis suitable for exploration and bulk RoHS inspection in industrial and production monitoring applications.

According to Rice University researcher Emelia Ringe, the beauty of modern microscopy lies not in the sight of the atom but in the possible analytical capabilities. With the latest technological advancements, you can be sure to make the most of your analysis.

Next month's Spotlight is on testing and inspection