The Advanced Microscopy Laboratory (LMA) is a unique initiative at national and international levels aimed at providing the Industrial and Scientific communities with the most advanced infrastructures in Electron Microscopy, Nanofabrication, and Scanning Probe Microscopy for the observation, characterization, nanopatterning and handling of materials at atomic and molecular scale. In 2014 the LMA was awarded as Unique Scientific Technical Infrastructure (ICTS) by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity. In the field of Transmission Electron Microscopy, the LMA offers a combination of infrastructures unique in Spain, by combining last-generation dedicated instruments for 1) advanced aberration corrected TEM, 2) sample preparation by conventional methods and advanced Focused Ion Beam lamella preparation, and 3) dedicated software and local expertise for data analysis.
The LMA hosts three Focused Ion Beam instruments specialized in TEM lamella preparation: 2 FEI Helios (600 and 650) for room temperature lamella preparation and 1 FEI Nova 200 Nanolab. All of them are equipped with Gas Injection System (GIS) for depositing Pt, C or Co, Omniprobe micromanipulators for TEM lamella lift-off and transfer among other accessories. These are installed in a Class 10.000 Clean Room to be compatible in microfabrication processes. The Nova 200 is also fitted with a cryo-unit for observation of samples and lamella preparation in cryogenic conditions (77 K) The conventional sample preparation laboratory is equipped with a Fischione ion miller, a Fischione plasma cleaner, Leica coater (C, Au), low and high speed polishers, grinder and tripod polishers, diamond disk and wire saws, a Leica cryo-ultramicrotome and a FEI Vitrobot.
The probe aberration corrected FEI Titan Low Base 60-300.
This instrument is optimized for dedicated STEM imaging and spectroscopy with atomic spatial resolution and sub-150 meV energy resolution. For that purpose, it is equipped with a high-brightness Field Emission Gun (X-FEG), a Wien filter monochromator, a CETCOR probe corrector from CEOS achieving a spatial resolution of 80 pm in STEM mode, and a Gatan GIF Tridiem 866-ERS, with multiple STEM detectors for HAADF, ADF, ABF and BF imaging.
The image aberration corrected FEI Titan Cube 60-300.
This microscope is dedicated to image corrected HRTEM and electron holography at 60, 80, 200 and 300 kV. It is installed in a dedicated insulating box to reduce external thermal or mechanical perturbations and it is equipped with a CETCOR image corrector from CEOS providing a spatial resolution of 80 pm in TEM mode, and a Gatan Ultrascan 2Kx2K for high resolution imaging and Gatan GIF Tridiem 863. For electron holography it is fitted with a motorized Möllenstedt biprism and an aberration corrected Lorentz lens down to ~1nm.
Dedicated sample holders are available for both instruments. In addition to standard single and double tilt holders, dedicated in situ set-ups include single tilt liquid nitrogen cryo-transfer holder, a single-tilt tomography holder and a double-tilt 4-probe holder for heating/electrical bias.
The infrastructures of LMA are supported by software available to analyse the data collected in the microscopes. Software for advanced quantitative image analysis, quantitative analysis of X-rays and EELS spectrum-images, algorithms for tomographic reconstruction and visualization, atomic modelling and (S)TEM image simulation and micromagnetic simulations are available and offered to external users. This infrastructure is supported the local expertise in data analysis, interpretation and materials science of LMA staff, which includes a group of physicists, chemists and engineers with career-long expertise in different areas of electron microscopy, materials synthesis and characterization and nanofabrication.