CIC nanoGUNE to expand its Electron-Microscopy facility with a unique FIB instrument
The Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Spanish Government has awarded 1.5 million euros to nanoGUNE aiming to bring principally new Focused Ion Beam technologies to the Basque Country. The equipment will be a state-of-the-art focused ion beam electron microscope, which will combine features that are not normally present together in a single instrument: an extensive set of detectors for materials science applications; the large volume removal option targeting for batteries sector and industry; and a cryo option, typically dedicated to biological applications. This combination of features in a single instrument will be unique in Europe and will also provide new research opportunities in materials science related to low-temperature physics and in biological sciences related to cryo-cell tomography. This instrument will be the base for a common research facility, one of a few in Europe.
One of nanoGUNE's objectives in acquiring this equipment is to promote its widespread and large-scale use by the scientific community. Ikerbasque Professor Andrey Chuvilin, leader of nanoGUNE’s Electron Microscopy Laboratory, explains that “the success of the proposal is the result of a joint activity and accounts for the interests of diverse research centers: CIC bioGUNE, CIC energiGUNE, CIC nanoGUNE, and others”. This will be a facility opened for a broad community including industry interested in battery research, metals, and novel alloys. “One of the key activities will be providing knowhow in cryo-FIB preparation for cellular cryo tomography”, he states. With the acquisition of a new microscope, nanoGUNE´s Electron-Microscopy Laboratory will be upgraded with the Bio Safety Level 2 laboratory, opening the opportunity to work with biological infected materials targeting for bio-medical research and hospital diagnostics.
The Electron-Microscopy laboratory provides a high-end electron-microscopy support to research institutions and industry in the Basque Country and worldwide. The Electron Microscopy Lab is also part of nanoGUNE´s External Services infrastructure that is responsible for performing microscopy-based characterization and nanofabrication applications and the new tool will become a part of it.