Funded by the European Union
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Working on beam-sensitive and hydrated samples is a complex process. Therefore, Laura Gemmrich Hernandez (ESR08) is currently focused on optimizing the data acquisition routines and sample preparation to get quality data that can lead to the structure solution of such materials.
Currently, the project is focused on microscope management, cryoEM, and data processing of many different types of challenging, organic as well as inorganic, samples; such as hydrated, beam sensitive, and disordered materials. The cryoEM training has included a visit to the BASF in Ludwigshafen (Germany) to learn and practice the vitrification and cryotransfer procedures for these types of samples.
Establishing new crystal tracking routines requires a deep understanding of the hardware, software and 3DED technique and its limitations. Due to that, the work of Marco Santucci (NanED ESR9) is focused in mastering the microscope, with a special eye on the “hidden parameters” that allow the microscope to work. This deep knowledge is necessary to figure out how to handle a basic 3DED experiment, translate it in an automated and technically flexible approach by scripting as well as to improve it.
Marco is focused in the management of the machine, the data collection and processing of organic and inorganic samples, due to their intrinsically different beam stability. Regarding the scripting, Marco is learning Python and DigitalMicrograph© in order to be flexible and synchronize every element of our TEM machines during the data acquisition. Thanks to these acquired competences, Marco will develop a routine to set automatically the best eucentric height, a key parameter for sample mechanical stability during our experiments. At the same time, Marco is also learning how to model disordered crystals and simulate their diffuse scattering using DISCUS, thanks to a visit to the Prof. Rheinard Neder at the FAU in Erlangen.
The current objective in the context of Sara Passuti’s (ESR12 @ CNRS) research project is to implement new strategies for diffraction dataset acquisitions for thin films. Differently from a classical Rotation Electron Diffraction (RED) experiment, the beam is scanned across a pre-defined area going from the coating to the substrate of the thin film or vice versa for every tilt angle.
This way, differences in the lattice parameters in distinct areas of the sample could be highlighted and different domains could be identified.
The main issues concern the optimization of the dataset acquisition protocol, making it faster and more efficient, as well as the sorting of the acquired patterns in order to have separated datasets to analyze for different areas of the sample.
The PhD students Sara Passuti (left) and Erica Cordero-Oyonarte (right) just started at Crismat in Caen their NanED adventure. Sara will work on the project, “Electron crystallography of nanodomains in functional materials” focusing on materials with amazing properties whose crystallography is extremely difficult due to too small ordered domains. Meanwhile, Erica's project is “Electron crystallography of nanoparticles” which involves studying the limiting size of a 3D ED experiment.
Our Supervisor Philippe Boullay explains 3D ED facilities at the Crismat research center in CNR Caen, France
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska Curie grant agreement No 956099.