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Trinity College Dublin

Research Infrastructure

Research leadership is provided from TCD academics with top tier microscopy knowledge gained in the University of Oxford, UK, America and Australia. The centre serves the internal CRANN client community and Principal Investigator base, the wider academic community at home and in a European context, and industrial clients and collaborators.

The research equipment includes a Carl Zeiss Helium Ion Microscope [HIM], an FEI Titan Transmission Electron Microscope [TEM], and five other high specification scanning electron and focused ion beam microscopes. The Titan is the highest resolution TEM in Ireland and has powerful analytic capability. The HIM is one of only a handful in Europe, giving higher imaging resolution than a traditional scanning electron microscope, and is the only one located in Ireland.

The centre offers custom designed ultra-high specification microscope operating environments, dedicated wet and dry sample preparation labs and a high specification electron beam lithography capability with an integrated clean-room, and resist processing facilities on-site.

The facility can be accessed by non TCD Irish academics and written into SFI grant applications by non TCD researchers, in consultation with the centre staff. In a European context, the AML may be accessed by academia and industry via transnational infrastructure access calls such as EUminaFAB and Q-Nano. These FP7 infrastructure access programs allow non-Irish parties apply for financial support to access the facility – please contact Colm McAtamney, colm.mcatamney@tcd.ie for further details.  

Zeiss Orion Plus - Helium Ion Microscope

Located: CRANN Advanced Microscopy Facility, AML

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Zeiss Orion PlusOne of the world’s first installations of this exciting new technology. The Crann He-Ion microscope affords the highest resolution surface imaging of bulk materials from a scanning microscope [0.4 nm], and bridges the gap in imaging resolution traditionally left between the scanning electron microscope [SEM] and the TEM. This is the only such tool installed in Ireland, and one of a handful in Europe. The tool is well suited to imaging challenging sample sets such as polymer based systems and biological specimens, due to the absence of charging effects traditionally associated with SEM. Other exciting applications are dopant contrast mapping for the semi-conductor industry, and materials modification.

The HIM has a wide field of view, enhanced depth of focus, and excellent surface sensitivity.

Technical Specifications:

  • Highly surface sensitive imaging to a resolution of below 0.4 nm.
  • Elemental analysis using backscattered ion spectroscopy.
  • He-beam lithography.

FEI Titan – Transmission Electron Microscope

Located: CRANN Advanced Microscopy Facility, AML,

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This is the highest resolution imaging TEM in Ireland, with analytic capability unique in an Irish context. The Titan is field emission Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) with accelerating voltages between 80kV and 300kV capable of sub-angstrom imaging, and select area electron diffraction, [SAED] for locally measuring the crystallographic properties of materials. This TEM is ideally suited to materials qualification, nano-metrology, and device testing and characterization of a wide variety of nano-particles and chip based materials. It is well suited to serving defect and failure analysis needs of industry sectors such as semi-conductor and data-storage. FIB and manual sample preparation methods exist in-house.

 

Technical Specifications:

  • STEM capabilities.
  • A Gatan Tridiem Energy Filtering (EFTEM) system for Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS).
  • An Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) elemental analysis system.
  • Plasmon based imaging.
  • Alignments at 80 kV suited for the study of carbon based materials.

Zeiss Auriga - Focused Ion Beam (FIB) with Cobra ion column

Located: CRANN Advanced Microscopy Facility, AML,

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This is the highest resolution FIB patterning system in Ireland, and has both field emission electron and Ga+ ion columns. The system is fundamentally designed for nanofabrication via controlled localized ion milling or ion assisted deposition, which can be simultaneously monitored with the SEM column. The microscope features a state of the art Orsay Physics Cobra ion column with a unique 2.5 nm resolution. Sub-2 nm resolution images have been performed with the gallium ion beam at 1 pA. Over 100 TEM samples have been prepared on this system to date.

 

Technical Specifications:

  • Ion imaging resolution of 2.4 nm.
  • Electron imaging resolution 1 nm.
  • Sample preparation for TEM lamella.
  • Sequential cross sectioning for three dimensional image construction.
  • A reactive gas injection system for reactive ion etching and Pt/SiO2/W deposition.
  • Nano-manipulators dedicated to electrical measurements and TEM sample preparation.

Electron/Ion beam lithography, (Raith Elphy Quantum).

FEI Strata 235 - Focused Ion Beam

The FEI Strata 235 FIB is located in CRANN and is overseen by Dermot Daly, Dermot.Daly@tcd.ie.

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The Strata 235 is a versatile dual-beam FIB system, with a wide variety of functionality for nanofabrication, using the ion beam and additional materials characterization capability, with the field effect field emission gun. Platinum can be locally deposited using a gas injection system [GIS]. The FEI FIB offers energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) capability [Bruker 130 eV resolution]. EDS provides elemental site specific information of samples operated in spot, line-scan or Z-contrast map mode. This tool is ideally suited to failure analysis and cross sectioning, and TEM sample preparation of a wide range of academic or industrial samples and material sets.

 

Technical Specifications:

  • Electron/Ion beam lithography, (Raith Elphy Quantum).
  • Transmission Electron Microscope sample preparation.
  • Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) elemental analysis system (Silicon Drift Detector).
  • Nano-manipulators for in-situ TEM sample preparation.
  • Gas injection systems which allows reactive ion etching or the deposition of metals such as platinum.
  • A charge neutralization capability, during ion exposure, to reduce sample drift.

Zeiss Ultra Plus - Scanning Electron Microscope

The Zeiss Ultra Plus is located in the CRANN Advanced Microscopy Facility, AML, and is overseen by Dermot Daly, Dermot.Daly@tcd.ie.

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A high resolution (<1nm) Field Emission SEM with a Gemini® column is installed for imaging, and analytics. This is one of the highest resolution imaging electron microscopes available on the market, and feature STEM capability and a number of specialized detectors with sophisticated contrast and detection mechanisms. Up to 8 conventional SEM samples can be mounted in the chamber at once.

The Ultra has a cold and hot stage, from -40 °C to +1,100 °C, which may be accessed upon consultation with center management, and completion of a risk assessment.  

Technical Specifications:

  • Imaging resolution of 1 nm.
  • Scanning TEM imaging [STEM] to a resolution of 0.8 nm.
  • Accelerating voltages between 100V and 30kV.
  • Charge neutralization system suitable for imaging non-coated insulating materials.
  • EDX elemental analysis, imaging and mapping [Oxford Instruments INCA system].
  • Extensive electron detection system including:
    • Energy Selected Backscattered detector.
    • Angular selected backscatter detector (for atomic number or Bragg scattering contrast).
  • Secondary Electron detector.

Zeiss Electron Beam Lithography SEM – Supra 40

Located: CRANN Advanced Microscopy Facility, AML,

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This high resolution field emission SEM is installed primarily for high resolution electron beam lithography and imaging. The Supra’s GEMINI® FESEM column affords superb resolution down to 0.1kV, a high efficiency In-lens SE detector, minimal adjustments when changing operating voltage and low magnetic fields at specimen level. The tool is specially housed within a specially designed, isolated, clean environment, and boasts custom designed proximity to fume hood, wet bench and spinners for resist based lithography.

 

Technical Specifications:Zeiss-Electron-Beam-Litho-SEM-Supra-40-(1).jpg

  • Raith Elphy Quantum software and beam control system for electron beam lithography.
  • Four micromanipulators with a low current measurement system for high precision electrical measurements.

Zeiss Electron Beam Lithography SEM – EVO 50

Location: CRANN Advanced Microscopy Facility, AML,

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This SEM is fitted with a high brightness LaB6 cathode, and has a quick pump-down time. The system is ideally suited to biological imaging, as it has a variable pressure “wet SEM” capability, and a cold stage [-20 °C]. It also serves as a general imaging, contacting, and EBL patterning microscope.

Technical Specifications:

  • Raith Elphy Quantum software and beam control system for electron beam lithography.
  • High repeatability stage with large stage movements.

Fischione NanoMill 1040

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The Fischione NanoMill 1040 is a state-of-the-art TEM specimen preparation system that operates with an ultra-low energy ion source producing a concentrated ion beam. With this construction, it is possible to remove the amorphous or implanted layers that always form on TEM specimens prepared by conventional methods or a FIB (focused ion beam). Post processing and milling of conventionally-prepared specimens with the NanoMill can remove the amorphous layers and the corresponding speckled pattern that significantly disturbs high-resolution TEM images and produces a diffuse background in diffraction patterns. This is accomplished by a targeted milling process using ultra-low-energy gaseous ion source technology that results in ion energies as low as 50 eV and a beam size as small as 2 μm. The ion beam can be targeted to a specific area of interest. A secondary electron detector (SED) is used to image the specimen via ion-induced secondary electrons.

Zeiss ORION Nanofab

The only tool of its kind in Ireland, the ORION Nanofab is equipped with gallium, neon, and helium beams, combining high-resolution imaging with the fast, efficient milling capabilities of a FIB, for high-precision and high-throughput.

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The only tool of its kind in Ireland, the ORION Nanofab is equipped with gallium, neon, and helium beams, combining high-resolution imaging with the fast, efficient milling capabilities of a FIB, for high-precision and high-throughput. Seamlessly switch between Ga - for removal of massive material, Ne - for high speed, high throughput nanofabrication, and He - for delicate, sub-10nm nanofabrication, and high-resolution imaging. The tool is also well suited to imaging challenging sample sets such as polymer based systems and biological specimens, due to the absence of charging effects traditionally associated with SEM.

 

Technical specifications:

  • Equipped with gallium, neon, and helium beams.
  • Capable of 0.5 nm resolution.
  • He- and Ne-ion lithography capabilities.