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Announcing the award of EPSRC International Centre to Centre Collaboration grant

15/01/2024


The SuperSTEM NRF has been awarded a 5 year EPRSC International Centre to Centre Collaboration Grant on the "Spectroscopic detection of magnetic scattering and quasiparticles, at atomic resolution in the electron microscope". The grant was awarded via the consortium partners University of York (Prof Vlado Lazarov, Dr Demie Kepaptsoglou), University of Leeds (Prof Quentin Ramasse) ,  long standing collaborator University of Durham (Dr Buddhika Mendis), and international Partners  Dr Jan Rusz and  Dr Anders Bergman from the University of Uppsala, Sweden. 


The international team spent three amazing days in Uppsala for the kick-off meeting, full of discussions, equations & of course celebrations.  The award marks a new beginning and the culmination of 3 years of preliminary work supported by EPSRC New Horizons 2020 grant and the  Royal Society International Exchanges Grants. 


Watch this space for exciting science news!

New paper on analysis of organic matter within the Winchcombe Meterorite

26/01/2024


Meteorites represent the building blocks of the solar system, providing key insights into the ingredients from which the planets, including our own, are formed. A rare group of meteorites, called “carbonaceous meteorites”, are rich in chemical species such carbon and nitrogen, and likely played a critical role in the delivery of water and organic molecules to the early Earth.

Winchcombe is a carbonaceous meteorite that was widely observed to fall in the UK in February 2021, with the first samples collected only ~12 hours after landing. It thus offers scientists an opportunity to investigate the composition of organic matter in the early solar system without the severe terrestrial alteration effects that usually compromise investigations of meteorites.

A multidisciplinary research team led by long-term collaborator Christian Vollmer from  University of Münster in Germany alongside SuperSTEM and colleagues at the Natural History Museum in London, Diamond Light Source, the Max Plank Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, has provided the first in-depth analysis of organic matter within the Winchcombe meteorite at the nanoscale.  We were able to uniquely correlate synchrotron-radiation data with complementary ultra-high resolution spectroscopic information about the nature of the functional chemical groups present in the organic matter, using SuperSTEMs electron microscopes. This allowed the striking in-situ detection of nitrogen-bearing biorelevant molecules, including amino acids and nucleobases that are fundamental components of the larger, complex proteins used in biology. The research shows that Winchcombe still contains pristine extraterrestrial organic molecules that, tantalizingly, might have been crucial to the advent of life on the early Earth.

Full paper: 

C. Vollmer, D. Kepaptsoglou et-al, High-spatial resolution functional chemistry of nitrogen compounds in the observed UK meteorite fall Winchcombe, Nature Communications 15, 778 (2024), 

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-45064-x

SuperSTEM staff member on IFSM board

05/01/2024


SuperSTEM deputy Director Dr Demie Kepaptsoglou has been voted as a board member of the International Federation of Societies of Microscopy. 

New  Paper and Editor's Suggestion on theory of magnon spectroscopy published in PRB

27/10/2023


In a new paper just published in Physical Review B,  in collaboration with researchers from the University of Uppsala led by Dr Jan Rusz, we present a study on the effects of temperature on magnon diffuse scattering (MDS) in bcc Fe—considering a detector outside the central Bragg disk and a fixed convergent electron probe—using the frozen phonon and frozen magnon multislice methods. An analysis of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) shows that the MDS signal can be a statistically significant contribution to the total scattering intensity under realizable measurement conditions and feasible acquisition times. For example, our study found that a SNR of 3 can be achieved with a beam current of 1 nA in less than 30 min for the 16.072-nm-thick bcc Fe sample at 1100 K. in wave excitations, e.g., in material systems used for spintronics and spin caloritronics, where spin currents are propagated by magnons


The paper was highlighted as a prestigious "Editor's suggestion".

Full paper:  JA Castellanos-Reyes, P Zeiger et al., Unveiling the impact of temperature on magnon diffuse scattering detection in the transmission electron microscope, Phys. Rev. B 108, 134435  (2023) 

https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.108.134435

Made of stardust

10/10/2023


It's been an exciting week with Dr Christian Vollmer from the University of Muenster, looking at organic matter (OM) from the Ryugu asteroi, brought back to earth as part of the JAXA Hayabusa 2 return mission. Organic matter in extraterrestrial samples is a complex substance originating from various processes in interstellar, solar nebula, and asteroidal environments. Investigating Ryugu OM within its petrographic context is crucial for understanding these processes.  

New  Paper and Cover in the Journal of Materials Science

24/08/2023


In a new paper just published in the Journal of Materials Science   in collaboration with Nicholas Stephen and Miryam Arredondo from Queen's University Belfast, we investigate metamorphic buffers (MBs) used in compound semiconductor devices. The different architectures include InGaP and AlInGaAs/InGaP superlattices with different GaAs substrate misorientations and the inclusion of a strain balancing layer. Our results correlate: (i) the density and distribution of dislocations in the metamorphic buffer and (ii) the strain in the next layer preceding the metamorphic buffer, which varies for each type of architecture. Our findings indicate that the dislocation density in the lower region of the metamorphic layer ranges between 108 and 1010 cm−2, with AlInGaAs/InGaP superlattice samples exhibiting higher values compared to samples with InGaP films. We have identified two waves of dislocations, with threading dislocations typically located lower in the metamorphic buffer in comparison to misfit dislocations. The measured localised strain values are in good agreement with theoretical predictions. Overall, our results provide a systematic insight into the strain relaxation across different architectures, highlighting the various approaches that can be used to tailor strain in the active region of a metamorphic laser.


The paper is featured as the cover of the journal's  August issue

Full paper:   Stephen N, Kumar P et al., J Mater Sci 58, 9547 (2023) : Dislocation and strain mapping in metamorphic parabolic-graded InGaAs buffers on GaAs. 

https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-023-08597-y

Ondrej Krivanek honoured by Leeds

17/07/2023


Back where it all started!! On July 17th Prof Ondrej Krivanek received an honorary doctorate from his alma matter, the University of Leeds, with our own Profs Rik Brydson and Quentin Ramasse partaking in the academic procession! 

Open Day Success

17/07/2023

On July 15th 2023 more than 6,000 visitors from across the North West defied the weather and  gathered on the STFC Daresbury Campus for an awe-inspiring science extravaganza!

SuperSTEM’s ‘Super Powered microscopes’ was one of the most popular zones, with long queues of people waiting patiently to take part in the exciting smorgasbord of activities, prepared by the onsite team with the kind help of Dr Sean Collins (Univ. of Leeds) and Dr Mike Dixon (Hitachi High Technologies).

The public learned about atomic structures, experienced live microscope demonstrations, and took part in model crystal building and interactive virtual microscope demonstrations and videos for the youngest visitors.


Feedback from the public was overwhelmingly positive:

“Didn't know they had a unique electron microscope or the diverse fields of science that were based there”

“.. the microscopes are so powerful. You don't realise until you are told how much detail you can actually see”

“Amazingly knowledgeable staff who were keen to share their interest in their field. Not every day you get to see live output from electron microscope!”

“The space zone, the particle accelerator and the super microscope were great”

“The super microscope was exceptionally presented and informative, didn’t mind the wait to get in at all. All staff very friendly and helpful".

Visit from Ondrej Krivanek

13/07/2023


It’s always a great pleasure to host the 2020 Nanotechnology Kavli Prize laureate Prof Ondrej Krivanek. The amazing microscopes he produces with his colleagues at Nion Company are the cornerstone of electron microscopy research at SuperSTEM.

Open Week Success

12/07/2023

During the Daresbury Open Week SuperSTEM hosted over 250 key-stage 5 students from 14 schools  from the North-West. On-site staff with the help of Drs Sean Collins (Univ. Leeds) and Laura Clark (Univ.  of York) delivered lectures about materials science and electron microscopy and offered live demonstrations of the facility's instruments. The students also had the opportunity to see atoms being imaged live and to try their hand at operating the facility's instruments. 


Daresbury Open Week preparations in full swing

09/07/2023

SuperSTEM fosters a longstanding and fruitful collaborative relationship with STFC's Daresbury Laboratory’s Public Engagement Team.

We were therefore delighted to answer their call for taking part in the Daresbury Open Week  & Open Day. The events take place every four years and offer a unique opportunity for schools and the general public to visit research facilities, experience  how 'real-life' science and technology research is carried out, and interact with scientists, engineers and technicians.

Join us in Daresbury for more on "High Powered Microscopes" 

Successful visit in Japan

05/07/2023

SuperSTEMs Prof Ramasse and Dr Kepaptsoglou have had a successful visit  in Japan. The visit started with fruitful discussions at the Hitachi High Technologies factory, followed by a week full of excellent science at the  IAMNano 2023 meeting in Matsue City.

Farewell Low Wood bungalow

20/04/2024

We are saddened to see the Low Wood Bungalow being knocked down. This marks the end of guest accommodation on-site.  Please refer to our Information for guests page for accomodation and travel options in the area. 

New member of staff

01/03/2023

We are delighted to announce that Dr Shihao Wang has just joined  the team as a SuperSTEM staff scientist!  Shihao  is an a metallurgy specialist joining us from BCAST

Celebrating 20 years of Advanced Electron Microscopy at SuperSTEM

The 13th of December 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the official inauguration the SuperSTEM laboratory.  

The SuperSTEM project began in 1997 when Prof. Mick Brown presented a now seminal paper presented at the 1997 Electron Microscopy and Analysis Group (EMAG) conference in Cambridge. Prof. Brown urged the UK scientific community to pool resources in a national microscopy centre that would offer access to an emerging new technological development called aberration correction - unveiled at the same conference by a team led by long-time collaborators Ondrej Krivanek and Niklas Dellby, which promised to “put a synchrotron in a microscope”.  To realise this vision he teamed up with Peter Goodhew and Chris Kiely from the University of Liverpool, Rik Brydson at the University of Leeds, Alan Craven at the University of Glasgow and Andrew Bleloch from Cambridge to bid for funding for a "UK SuperSTEM National Facility", which  was later to become the EPSRC National Research Facility (NRF) for Advanced Electron Microscopy.  

Some twenty years after SuperSTEM's inauguration, aberration correctors are ubiquitous, with scientists the world over taking advantage of the improved sensitivity and resolution that they have brought about. Throughout this exceptional period of innovation in EM,  SuperSTEM has continued to honour the spirit of its inception by offering early access to successive generations of new technologies with a view to demonstrate their benefit and importance to the scientific community: aberration correction , atomically resolved chemical mapping, low beam energy microscopy at atomic resolution (the first images of graphene at 60kV acceleration voltage), single-atom spectroscopy in the meV regime (bonding analysis, plasmonics and phononics of single atoms), to name but a few "world firsts". 

SuperSTEM serves the research community by offering access to world-leading scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) instrumentation and expertise for the direct imaging and spectroscopy of atomic structures and the determination of chemical composition, bonding and vibrational properties, with a focus on single-atom precision and sensitivity. The facility's unique instrumentation enables the elucidation of structure-property relationships in materials and devices for the benefit of a highly multi-disciplinary scientific community, both academic and industrial, stemming from fields as diverse as catalysis, energy conversion and storage, biomaterials, organic and inorganic chemistry, mineralogy, planetary science, nuclear materials, condensed matter physics and quantum materials. 

Since being awarded NRF status in 2011, the facility has proudly supported >400 distinct user groups from 21 countries, resulting in the publication of over 450 papers and underpinning a research portfolio of over £150M in EPSRC funding alone.

We cannot thank enough our collaborators and members of staff past and present for an amazing 20 years - as well as EPSRC for continued financial support: we look forward to even more exciting science in the coming two decades! 

SuperSTEM staff member on IFSM board

New  Paper and Editor's Suggestion on theory of magnon spectroscopy published in PRB