Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed a new scanning transmission electron microscope that it says offers improved structural and chemical examination of a wide range of materials at atomic-scale resolution.

Spectra Ultra features a new energy-dispersive X-Ray (EDX) analysis system, the Thermo Scientific Ultra-X, with the largest available in a commercially released microscope of its kind, the company said. Combined with the new objective lens design, the EDX detector architecture makes it possible to capture X-rays twice as fast as currently available commercial solutions, allowing the analysis of more beam-sensitive materials and samples with previously undetectably low concentrations of trace elements.

 The microscope also allows users to adjust accelerating voltage with high stability, enabling investigation of an extended range of samples, minimizing beam damage and reducing tool optimization overhead.

 ‘The Spectra Ultra, configured with Ultra-X […] can dramatically reduce beam damage by swiftly applying different accelerating voltages, and users will be able to detect light elements with even lower concentration,’ said Rosy Lee, vice president of materials science at Thermo Fisher. ‘In addition, users can quickly image and analyze new and improved materials at increased resolutions, compared to other commercially available solutions.’

‘As semiconductor manufacturers approach the physical limits of current process technologies, they are incrementally expanding their use of elements across the periodic table to find solutions that deliver the power, efficiency and performance required for emerging applications,’ added Glyn Davies, vice president of semiconductors.

 Spectra Ultra also features increased imaging sensitivity with the ability to measure single electrons, enabling the high-resolution characterization of soft materials; atomic-level analysis for the development and improvement of materials; and an optional super high brightness cold field emission gun (CFEG) emitter that, when combined with the Spectra Ultra, provides improved imaging contrast and analytical capabilities.

This story uses material from Thermo Scientific, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.