3. Dec. 2021
This year, the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA ČR) awarded for the ninth time the best applied research projects with high benefits for society. The winners of the Business category and the absolute winners of the Czech Idea 2021 award were scientists from CEITEC Brno University of Technology, who collaborate with colleagues from Thermo Fisher Scientific on the development of an atomic source for applications in electron microscopy.
The specific focus of the project, which the researchers worked on in the years 2018 – 2019 in the ZETA program, was to develop a source for generating atomic hydrogen for application in scanning electron microscopes. "For us, this is a completely unexplored area, because no one has ever put an atomic source under a microscope. The impact is therefore difficult to assess now, it will show up in a few years. We already have a prototype, but everything still needs to be optimized a lot," summarizes student Kristýna Bukvišová.
The principle of the electron microscope is based on observations using electrons or a stream of electrons, which not only allows you to observe the structures of materials with a much higher resolution, but also their individual atoms and molecules. "Previously, the microscope was only used to observe various specimens, but lately there has been a tendency to make it a small laboratory. So the microscopes change and various other devices are added to them. The equipment developed by us enables the microscope to perform reactions that cannot be observed in the usual way,” describes Miroslav Kolíbal, mentor of the research team.
The device could be used mainly in materials research to clean the surface of metals. It can be used by customers who deal with oxidation-reducing reactions. "It's a great connection with Thermo Fisher Scientific, which means connecting two different environments from academia and industry. Thanks to the project, we tested our equipment so that it could be used on a commercial level," summarizes Meena Dhankhar, project researcher, principal investigator of the project and recent graduate of the doctoral program at CEITEC BUT.