A microscope, unique even by world standards. This is one of the outcomes of the scientific reseach at CEITEC BUT, which also serves as an example of how to access European funds. Thanks to well-chosen instruments and technology acquired through the targeted support of the ERDF - European Regional Development Fund, for large infrastructures and approved by the Czech government, they have been able to obtain and implement research projects awarded directly by the European Commission. The result of the synergy of national and european grant policy is exemplified by the participation of CEITEC BUT scientists in the scientific research project UnivSEM. This is financed from the main instruments of the European Union for financing research and development, 7th Framework Programme (FP7).
CEITEC BUT, which is financed by the operational programme OP RDI (Operational programme Research and Development for Innovation), joined the UnivSEM project last year. The project was successful at the European competition, among almost 30 applications, and obtained finance for the project to develop a new type of electron microscope with a wide spectrum of applications. The main actor in this project is the Czech company, Tescan, a.s., which produces electron microscopes, CEITEC BUT is one of the co-partners along with 6 other major companies and academic institutes from Germany and Switzerland. UnivSEM is now financed from the FP7, and in half of the project duration CEITEC BUT can already celebrate publication in the prestigious journal, Nano Letters.
The UnivSEM project facilitates cooperation between commercial entities focussing on the research and development and the sale of analytic instruments; and scientific-research institutions. The common goal is to develop a unique electronic microscope capable of a number of structural, atomic and molecular analyses concurrently. Prof. Tomas Sikola's group from CEITEC BUT is looking for uses for the groundbreaking features of the new instrument in the scientific world, for example, to research new types of magnetic memories, sensors or solar cells. The research group from CEITEC BUT was able to get involved in the project thanks to constant improvements in their technical equipment (among them the most modern electron microscopes) and also the high quality scientific team, which also opens up other opportunities for scientific cooperation at an international level. "We're not interested in doing research that gets left in the drawer, we want our work to end up in a tangible form, which thanks to UnivSEM is possible," explains Prof. Tomas Sikola, one of the project partners of UnivSEM and also a research group leader at CEITEC BUT.
Thanks to the combination of financial sources, technical equipment and the scientific potential of CEITEC it is possible to apply to the most prestigious European projects involving international cooperation. Taking advantage of these opportunities is both the aim and a condition of the sustainability of a research centre supported by the Structural Fund.
CEITEC - Central European Institute of Technology
CEITEC is a scientific centre in the fields of life sciences, advanced materials and technologies whose aim is to establish itself as a recognized centre for basic as well as applied research. CEITEC offers a state-of-the-art infrastructure and great conditions to employ excellent researchers. It is a consortium whose partners include the most prominent universities and research institutes in Brno, and it benefits from the support of the Region of South Moravia and the City of Brno. The following participate in the setting up of the centre of excellence: Masaryk University, Brno University of Technology, Mendel University in Brno, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno, Veterinary Research Institute and Institute of Physics of Materials of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. The research is divided into 61 groups and 7 programmes: 1. Advanced Nanotechnologies and Microtechnologies, 2. Advanced Materials, 3. Structural Biology, 4. Genomics and Proteomics of Plant Systems, 5. Molecular Medicine, 6. Brain and Mind Research, 7. Molecular Veterinary Medicine.
UnivSEM - Universal scanning electron microscope as a multi-nano-analytical tool
The aim of the UnivSEM project is to develop a novel multimodal tool combining:
a vision capability by integrating scanning electron (SEM), scanning probe (SPM) and optical microscopy (OM) thus enabling multimodal microscopy, a chemical analysis capability by time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (TOF-SIMS) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), structural characterization by electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD), a non-destructive optical analysis capability by confocal Raman spectroscopy and cathodoluminescence (CL), a tomography capability by complementary use of novel 3D orthogonal TOF-SIMS, 3D EBSD and 3D confocal Raman tomography (the last method being non-destructive) thus enabling correlation between alternative 3D methods.
The proper resolution will be ensured by SEM column improvements, a new SPM design and OM type of Raman microscopy in SEM. Implementation of nano-scale 3D imaging, manipulation and non-destructive optical analysis in one universal instrument will represent a real breakthrough allowing simple operations or analyses in nanotechnology that are problematic or impossible nowadays.
The fully functional prototype of the new tool will demonstrate its unique modularity, resolution, data acquisition and simplification of working environment. Direct application of this multimodal tool is expected in many industrial quality controls and in R&D sectors (e.g. photovoltaics, plasmonics and cell-nanoparticle interaction).
Project partners: Tescan (CZ), CEITEC BUT (CZ) Max Planck Institute (DE), Witec GmbH (DE), Specs surface nano analysis GmbH (DE), EMPA Thun (CH), Amires Sàrl (CH), Tofwerk AG (CH).
Jana Šilarová, PR and Communication Specialist, CEITEC BUT
tel: + 420 724 930 599
Jaroslav Jiruše, UnivSEM project coordinator, Head of R&D Physics, Tescan, a.s.
Tel: + 420 530 353 160
Download the press release here.