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Title: Mirror monochromator

In this SBIR project, Electron Optica, Inc. (EOI) is developing a mirror electron monochromator (MirrorChrom) attachment to new and retrofitted electron microscopes (EMs) for improving the energy resolution of the EM from the characteristic range of 0.2-0.5 eV to the range of 10-50 meV. This improvement will enhance the characterization of materials by imaging and spectroscopy. In particular, the monochromator will refine the energy spectra characterizing materials, as obtained from transmission EMs [TEMs] fitted with electron spectrometers, and it will increase the spatial resolution of the images of materials taken with scanning EMs (SEMs) operated at low voltages. EOI’s MirrorChrom technology utilizes a magnetic prism to simultaneously deflect the electron beam off the axis of the microscope column by 90° and disperse the electrons in proportional to their energies into a module with an electron mirror and a knife-edge. The knife-edge cuts off the tails of the energy distribution to reduce the energy spread of the electrons that are reflected, and subsequently deflected, back into the microscope column. The knife-edge is less prone to contamination, and thereby charging, than the conventional slits used in existing monochromators, which improves the reliability and stability of the module. The overall design of themore » MirrorChrom exploits the symmetry inherent in reversing the electron trajectory in order to maintain the beam brightness – a parameter that impacts how well the electron beam can be focused downstream onto a sample. During phase I, EOI drafted a set of candidate monochromator architectures and evaluated the trade-offs between energy resolution and beam current to achieve the optimum design for three particular applications with market potential: increasing the spatial resolution of low voltage SEMs, increasing the energy resolution of low voltage TEMs (beam energy of 5-20 keV), and increasing the energy resolution of conventional TEMs (beam energy of 80-120 keV). Specialized software packages that have been developed by MEBS, Ltd. were used to calculate the electron optical properties of the key monochromator components: namely, the magnetic prism, the electron mirror, and the electron lenses. In the final step, these results were folded into a model describing the key electron-optical parameters of the complete monochromator. The simulations reveal that the mirror monochromator can reduce the energy spread of a Schottky electron source, an established electron emitter used widely in EMs, to 10 meV for practical beam current values and that further reduction of the energy spread down to 3 meV is possible for low current applications with a Cold Field Emitter (an electron source with 10x the brightness of a Schottky source). MirrorChroms can be designed and built to attach to different types of TEMs and SEMs, thus making them suitable for enhancing the study of the structure, composition, and bonding states of new materials at the nanoscale to advance material science research in the field of nanotechnology as well as biomedical research.« less
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  1. Electron Optica, Inc., Palo Alto, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Electron Optica, Inc., Palo Alto, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States