Imperial College London Unveils UK's First Titan(TM) S/TEM

World's Most Powerful Commercially-Available Microscope Provides Access to

Atomic-Scale Data for Nanotechnology Research

Oct 18, 2006, 01:00 ET from FEI Company

    HILLSBORO, Ore., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Imperial College
 London has unveiled one of the UK's most powerful microscopes, the
 Titan(TM) 80-300 S/TEM from FEI. It is the world's most powerful
 commercially-available scanning/transmission electron microscopes and one
 of the only instruments capable of viewing and analyzing individual atoms
 and the bonds which join them.
     The Titan's unique capabilities enable researchers to "see" the detail
 of atoms' interfaces, structures, boundaries and defects in a wide range of
 materials. This will lead to a greater understanding of the chemical,
 biological, structural, electronic or magnetic properties in a number of
 materials and structures for the development and commercialization of new
 nano-enabled technologies.
     The UK's first Titan allows the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN),
 an interdisciplinary collaboration between Imperial College London and
 University College London (UCL), to provide a world-class
 nano-characterisation facility for the first time. LCN can now offer
 scientists the opportunity to view and analyse material at a resolution
 smaller than half a nanometre.
     The Titan will support a range of nanotechnology research projects in
 medical, pharmaceutical and materials science. These include understanding
 the processes which influence degenerative brain diseases, developing
 lightweight aircraft materials to reduce fuel consumption, and researching
 quantum dots as a way to increase the communication bandwidth available
 from fibre-optic cables. The multi-million-dollar microscope was funded by
 the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council following a joint
 submission from Imperial College, University College London and the London
 Centre for Nanotechnology.
     The FEI Titan family currently offers world's most powerful,
 commercially- available transmission electron microscope (TEM). Since its
 release in 2005, the Titan has been widely acclaimed both for its ability
 to deliver ground- breaking results and for its superior product design. It
 has rapidly become the preferred S/TEM of leading researchers around the
 world, enabling discovery and exploration down to sub-Angstrom resolution
 in both TEM and S/TEM modes.
     Examples of research enabled by the TITAN:
     -- Quantum computing -- The FEI TITAN will allow researchers to view and
        study the impurity atoms responsible for the quantum bits, manipulated
        in silicon-based quantum computers. These computers are devices which
        will use the correlated movements of electrons to do complex
        calculations in fields such as cryptography. The microscopy of the
        TITAN will allow scientists to view individual impurities in their
        native environment and thereby to understand and improve their function
        in a quantum computer.
     -- Carbon nanotubes -- Scientists at Imperial will use the FEI TITAN to
        understand how carbon nanotubes grow so that they can be developed for
        specific applications. Carbon nanotubes have remarkable properties,
        including the highest strength and thermal conductivity of any known
        material. Many of these properties depend on the specific atomic
        structure of different nanotubes. However, scientists have too little
        control over the growth process. By understanding the relationship
        between nanotube structure and metal catalysts used for synthesis, it
        may be possible to find ways to produce nanotubes with specific
        structures, designed for individual applications.
     -- Solid oxide fuel cells -- Imperial has been a hub of fuel cell research
        for over 30 years. Solid oxide fuel cells could be used to fuel
        anything from auxiliary power units for vehicles to combined heat and
        power for the home. They use a variety of interfaces to catalyse the
        production of energy from hydrocarbons or pure hydrogen. These
        interfaces will deteriorate over time, affecting the cell's
        performance. Imperial will use the TITAN to image and analyse these
        interfaces over time and understand how and why they deteriorate. By
        doing so it hopes to establish ways to slow the process and support
        fuel cells' commercialisation.
     -- Degenerative brain diseases -- The level of iron in the brain tissue of
        patients with degenerative diseases is significantly higher than in
        healthy samples. The TITAN will allow research teams to investigate the
        link between iron nanoparticles in the brain and diseases such as
        Huntingdon's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
     "Finally we have a true nano-analytical facility in a single
 instrument," commented Imperial's Dr. David McComb. "We can now see the
 atom, we can identify the atom and we can determine how it is coordinated
 to the atoms around it -- this will enable us to make major advances in
 establishing the relationship between structure and properties in systems
 such as biomedical materials, materials for renewable energy and electronic
 materials. This reinforces the position of the LCN and Imperial College
 London as a world- leading centre for nanomaterials research."
     "This is a big investment in the science of the small," said Rob
 Fastenau, senior vice president and senior executive Europe of FEI Company.
 "The power of the Titan is its ability to combine world-leading imaging and
 spectral analysis at the atomic level. But its true value depends upon how
 it is applied to investigate and solve real scientific problems. Imperial's
 rich history of research excellence means it has a huge opportunity to
 drive new research forward with the acquisition of this highly advanced
     About FEI
     FEI is a global leader in providing innovative instruments for
 nanoscale imaging, analysis and prototyping. FEI focuses on delivering
 solutions that provide groundbreaking results and accelerate research,
 development and manufacturing cycles for its customers in Semiconductor and
 Datastorage, Academic and Industrial R&D, and Life Sciences markets. With
 R&D centers in North America, Europe, and India, and sales and service
 operations in more than 50 countries around the world, FEI's Tools for
 Nanotech(TM) are bringing the nanoscale within the grasp of leading
 researchers and manufacturers. More information can be found online at:
     About the FEI Titan family
     FEI's Titan 80-300 kv transmission electron microscope images
 nanostructures with the highest level of detail available today -- down to
 the sub-Angstrom level, providing critical data for materials research and
 product development on a highly stable, easy-to-use platform. Titan is the
 next generation of a unique 80-300 kV range microscope for corrector and
 monochromator technologies.
     About the London Centre for Nanotechnology
     The London Centre for Nanotechnology is a joint enterprise between
 University College London and Imperial College London. In bringing together
 world-class infrastructure and leading nanotechnology research activities,
 the Centre aims to attain the critical mass to compete with the best
 facilities abroad. Furthermore by acting as a bridge between the
 biomedical, physical, chemical and engineering sciences the Centre will
 cross the "chip-to-cell interface" -- an essential step if the UK is to
 remain internationally competitive in biotechnology.
     About Imperial College, London
     Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions,
 Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose
 reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students
 (11,500) and staff (6,000) of the highest international quality. Innovative
 research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine,
 engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance
 the quality of life and the environment -- underpinned by a dynamic
 enterprise culture.