DENSsolutions tool talk: Advanced In-situ transmission electron microscopy—Feb. 4

Advanced in-situ transmission electron microscopy: A tool for materials science, energy storage & life science applications


DATE: Friday, February 4, 2022
TIME: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. EDT
SPEAKER: Hugo Perez, CEO, DENSsolutions



In this talk, technology for in situ studies inside the transmission electron microscope (TEM), where environmental studies (i.e. in gaseous or liquid environments) are also possible, will be presented.

DENSsolutions' systems rely on a micro electro-mechanical system (MEMS)-based device as a smart sample carrier that contains an integrated set of biasing electrodes or an integrated micro-heater to enable in-situ electrochemistry, catalytic studies, failure analysis, and biomedical studies, among others. As a result, the system provides the capability to visualize exciting dynamics in vacuum or liquid/gas environments as a function of different stimuli. This opens several possibilities in materials science, energy storage, and life science applications.

Conventionally, TEM studies are limited to work under static conditions. Similarly, environmental studies experience considerable limitations. When working in gas environments, environmental TEMs (ETEMs) are used, but limited to very low gas pressures. When working within liquid environments, the uncontrolled liquid layers affect the imaging resolution and hinder analytical techniques such as electron diffraction, EDS, or EELS. In addition, controlling the microfluidic environment around the sample (i.e. pressure, flow rate) has proven to be extremely challenging.

In order to provide meaningful results and address these historical challenges, DENSsolutions' MEMS device controls the flow direction and ensures the gas/liquid will always pass through the region of interest. As a result, the developed systems offer the opportunity to define the mass transport and control the kinetics of the reaction. The systems allow for control of the liquid thickness well below the beam broadening threshold, enabling resolutions that can go down to 2.15 Å (for a 100nm liquid thickness). Such control of the liquid thickness enables elemental mapping, allowing users to distinguish the spatial distribution of different elements in liquid.

These developments can play a fundamental role in addressing many of the research questions within battery optimization, fuel cells, (electro)catalysis, as well as for advanced (bio)materials and nanomedicine. It can provide unique insights into the chemistry that governs the structure-property relationship of materials, as well as the unique possibility to visualize biological processes in real time with extreme resolutions and without the need of vitrifying the biological specimen.