case study: microscope vacuum chamber
world record through co-development
Recently, the world record spatial resolution for scanning transmission electron microscopes (STEMs) was set sharper. A new generation of STEMs, developed by a Japanese world player in scientific & metrology equipment, came to the unprecedented spatial resolution (viewed in GaN) of 40.5 picometers (pm).
Remarkably, the new world record was set in broad daylight – so not, as with all previous record attempts, in the middle of the night, when circumstances are ideal because external vibrations are minimal.
The highly advanced vibration isolation solution used in the award-winning STEM system has been developed by Aalberts Advanced Mechatronics, in co-creation with the customer.
The co-development project was driven by the Japanese company’s ambition to respond to the rapidly increasing market demand for multifunctional and failure-free STEMs, which significantly outperform all conventional systems both in terms of resolution and productivity/throughput – not only under optimal conditions (when there is hardly any traffic, devices in the vicinity are switched off, and there is no activity in the lab), but also in broad daylight conditions.
So, the big challenge was to develop a system that performs groundbreaking, not only in scientific research, but also in an industrial setting.
In short: optimal shielding against external vibrations had to be put in place. Aalberts Advanced Mechatronics contributed with in-depth knowledge and experience in the areas of development (continuous R&D, i.e. system design / engineering), manufacturing (new product industrialization), testing and installation. This allowed the customer to focus on its core business – and helped him to push their boundaries.
‘We are proud of being able to make this world record possible at Tokyo University through the use of our TCN300XNL vibration isolation system on their record-breaking microscope,’ says Roland Kappel, Director of Product Development at IDE (Integrated Dynamics Engineering / technology centre for environmental control solutions) at Aalberts Advanced Mechatronics.
The project with the Japanese STEM producer, with whom Aalberts Advanced Mechatronics competence centre IDE (Integrated Dynamics Engineering) has been working for twenty years, involved the further development of IDE’s highly advanced vibration isolation solution, the TCN300XNL system. This guarantees the best-in-class low noise active floor vibration isolation at top performance levels. Among its many features are the lowest achievable residual floor vibration levels, high performance sensor signal resolution, an advanced FFF control algorithm and low magnetic stray field.
The TCN300XNL system is an essential part of the new generation of aberration correctors in the STEM that achieved the 40.5 pm spatial resolution.
The so-called ‘Okochi Memorial Technology Prize’ from the Okochi Memorial Foundation is seen as a significantly high-prestige technology prize. The world record was set in a test at the Institute of Engineering at Tokyo University.