A Continuous Flow Liquid Cell for the TEM and STEM Microscopes

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Hummingbird Scientific, LLC
3340 Windolph Lane NW
Olympia, WA 98502
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The addition of continuous fluid flow through a set of electron transparent windows in a transmission electron microscope (TEM) or scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) will provide the ability to image reactions that occur at the nanoscale. In particular, liquid STEM presents a unique in situ electron microscopy tool to investigate energy conversion at the interface between solid and liquid. An understanding of these interfaces at the molecular level could be gained from the nanoscale imaging of micrometer sized operating devices. However, at the present time, no commercially available liquid flow holder exists. This project will design and refine a highly-reliable commercial fluid holder. The resulting hardware will allow scientists to more completely characterize the mechanical response of nanostructured materials, and thus gain greater insight into nanoscale processes. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The technology should have application to a number of reactions of interest, including the decomposition of micrometer size pieces of cellulose for ethanol creation, corrosion of micrometer-sized pieces of metal, and the interaction of bacteria or whole eukaryotic cells with changing environment.