Technicians in charge: Anna Esther Carrillo (SEM) and Judith Oró (TEM)
Scientist in charge: Lluís Balcells


Electron Microscopy (TEM/SEM)

The Electron Microscopy Service focuses on high-profile nanostructural characterization, eliminating technical limits imposed by external services. The lab offers technical support by two high-profiled staff members, electronic management and an effective user-training system at the hands of the technical staff, to allow for the self-service of the equipment.

Scientific equipment available

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

  • QUANTA FEI 200 FEG-ESEM: It is a powerful imaging tool for material inspection, with a resolution of 1.2 nm at high vacuum and 1.5 nm at low vacuum (ESEM mode). Especially suitable for the morphological characterization of nanocrystals, nanostructured materials and surfaces.
  • Energy Dispersive X-Ray (EDX) System: For qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis, elemental mapping and linescans.
  • Nano-lithography by a RAITH e-beam: An open system for lithography on any type of functional material that, combined with the clean room, allows the design of new nanostructures and devices.

Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)

  • JEM 1210 JEOL: The JEOL-JEM1210 is a 120 KV transmission electron microscope with a point to point resolution of 3.2 Å. This equipment is useful for medium resolution structure imaging and characterization of nanoparticle systems. The microscope is equipped with a standard single tilt holder and an analytical specimen holder with double tilt (Tilt X=± 60o, Tilt Y=± 30o), a GATAN 646 model, that allows the exploration of large volumes of reciprocal space by electron diffraction.
    The microscope is equipped with an ORIUS 831 SC 600 GATAN camera. When operating in image mode, TEM provides information about the size, morphology and microstructure of the samples. In diffraction mode, it allows the determination of the cell’s parameters, space group and superstructures, incommensurate modulations, etc.

Optical microscope

  • OLYMPUS BX51: It allows the easy switching between the methods of observation, from transmission mode to reflection mode, giving a magnificent optical performance and an outstanding fluorescence capacity, optimizing the contrast and resolution thanks to the Nomarski DIC lens. It has 4 lenses (5, 20, 50 and 100) x10, an OLYMPUS camera with DP20 controller and a mercury lamp for fluorescence observation U-RFL-T.


Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

The SEM in 2020 gave service for a total of 567 hours, a 61,2 % with technician, and 38,8 % self-user, with an average of 103.8 hours per month.

Of these hours, 532 hours have been for internal users, and 35 hours for external users (Kostal Electrical S.A., Fundació Recerca Hospital Vall d`Hebron (VHIR), Duke Chem S.A.U., Sociedad Española Carburos Metálicos) and users from the NFFA Europe Project.

A total of 71 users have used the SEM, belonging to all the research groups at ICMAB: Crystallography 1.2 %; LMI 2.1 %; NN 9 %; FunNanoSurf 0.5 %; Surfaces 0.5 %; Nanomol 1.8 %; Mulfox1 %; ACNM 4.2 %; Nanopto 22 %; Laser 3.7 %; SSC 9.3 %; Suman 38.5 %.

External services used the 6.2 % of the hours. 

Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)

During 2020 the TEM service has performed a total of 355 hours. 

The internal users represent 96.2 % (341.5 hours) of the total numbe of hours distributed by research unit as follows: SSC 38.9 %; NN 33.1 %; Suman 6.3 %; LMI 10 %; FunNanoSurf 2.3 %; Nanopto 2 %; ACNM 2 %;  Nanomol 1 %; Crystallography 0.7 %; 

The external users represent 3.8 % (13.5 hours), distributed as follows: 7 hours Paperdropdx and 6.5 hours ICN (Inorganic Nanoparticles Department). 

Optical microscope

The Olympus BX51 opticsmicroscopeoperates in self-service mode and during 2020.

The Optical Microscope service has performed a total of 130.6 hours and the distribution of the hours by research unit is as follows: NN 47.1 %; FunNanoSurf 21.3 %; Nanomol 8.6 %; Nanopto 8.6 %; Surfaces 3.8 %; ACNM 3.7 %; SSC 3.4 %; Mulfox 2.2 %; Suman 1.2 %; Laser 0.1 %.

Outreach, publications and projects in which the service has participated

Outreach activities in which the service has participated in 2020: 

The TEM and SEM service has participated in some science education activities during 2020, including the ESCOLAB school visits and 3 videos: 2 for Expominer 2020, MinerMat2020: “Tres eines imprescindibles per convertir-te en un detectiu de minerals” and “Descobreix què amaga la sorra de la platja" and one for the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Festival 10alamenos9: “What are SEM & TEM?”. 

Main projects in which the service has participated in 2020: 

During 2020 the service has participated in many projects of the Institute, resulting in many publications (22), PhD Thesis, Master and Degree final projects, meetings, congresses, and communication activities. 

Main publications of the service in 2020: 

Structural, magnetic and electronic properties of EuTi0.5W0.5O3-xNx perovskite oxynitrides
J. Oró-Solé, C. Frontera, A. P. Black, A. Castets, K. L. Velásquez-Méndez, J 
Journal of Solid State Chemistry 2020, 286, 121274, 10.1016/j.jssc.2020.121274  

Particle size determination from magnetization curves in reduced graphene oxide decorated with monodispersed superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles 
A. Bertran, S. Sandoval, J. Oró-Solé, A. Sánchez, G. Tobias 
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 2020, 566, 107119, 10.1016/j.jcis.2020.01.072 

Engineering polar oxynitrides: Hexagonal perovskite BaWON2 
J. Oró-Solé, I. Fina, C. Frontera, J. Gázquez, C. Ritter, M. Cunquero, P. Loza-Alvarez, S. Conejeros, P. Alemany, E. Canadell, J. Fontcuberta, A. Fuertes 
Angewandte Chemie International 2020, 59, 18395 18399, 10.1002/ange.202006519 

Micro/Nanostructure engineering of epitaxial piezoelectric α-Quartz thin films on silicon 
Q. Zhang, D. Sánchez-Fuentes, R. Desgarceaux, P. Escofet-Majoral, J. Oró-Solé, J. Gázquez, G. Larrieu, B. Charlot, A. Gómez, M. Gich, A. Carretero-Genevrier 
ACS Applied Materials Interfaces 2020, 12, 47324740, 10.1021/acsami.9b18555 

Controlling magnetization reversal and hyperthermia efficiency in core–shell iron–iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles by Tuning the Interphase Coupling
K. Simeonidis, C. Martinez-Boubeta, D. Serantes, S. Ruta, O. Chubykalo-Fesenko, R. Chantrell, J. Oró-Solé, Ll. Balcells, A. S. Kamzin, R. A. Nazipov, A. Makridis, M. Angelakeris 
ACS Applied Nano Materials 2020, 3, 5, 4465-4476, 10.1021/acsanm.0c00568 

Spin Coating and Micro-Patterning Optimization of Composite Thin Films Based on PVDF  
Anh Ngoc Nguyen; Solard, Jeanne; Huyen Thi Thanh Nong; Ben Osman, Chirine; Gomez, Andres; Bockelee, Valerie; Tence-Girault, Sylvie; Schoenstein, Frederic; Simon-Sorbed, Maite; Esther Carrillo, Anna; Mercone, Silvana  
Materials 2020, 13, 6, 1342, 10.3390/ma13061342 

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