BNC to House NSF-Funded Nanoscale Microscope

orion_300Researchers using a new tool in QB3-Berkeley’s Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center (BNC) will investigate matter on an unprecedented scale, thanks to a $2 million NSF grant for the purchase and installation of a new ORION Nanofab microscope.

Berkeley will be one of the first institutions in the U.S. to obtain a new generation of Focused Ion Beam instrumentation, allowing researchers to manipulate and investigate matter on a sub-10 nanometer scale quickly, precisely, and efficiently, using three different kinds of ion beams.

“This grant will launch a new era of ion beam processing at Berkeley,” says Peter Hosemann, assistant professor of nuclear engineering, who will direct the new nanoscale processing center along with Professors Jeffrey Bokor, Nipam H. Patel, Andrew M. Minor, and Michael F. Crommie.

Once installed in the BNC, the instrument will be available to researchers who are affiliated with UC as well as those from other institutions.

The instrument opens a new window into small-scale mechanics, the limits of strength, and electronic properties. It also allows the in-situ implantation of He on a small scale. delivering insight for a number of nuclear applications including fission and fusion power.

Researchers will use the device for near damage-free surface imaging of organic materials of biological and non-biological origin, semiconductors, and other structural materials with unprecedented resolution, making it possible to address key issues in structural engineering, molecular cell biology, and the analysis of two-dimensional materials such as graphene. In addition, it allows for the manipulation (cutting, joining, coating, and moving) of any solid matter down to the sub-10 nanometer scale, enabling the creation of totally new structures for material science applications and biological experiments.

Related Link
Carl Zeiss Microscopy webpage