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Improving Resolution with CLAIRE: Cathodoluminescence Activated Imaging by Resonant Energy transfer

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CLAIRE imaging chip consists of a YAlO3:Ce scintillator film supported by LaAlO3 and SrTiO3 buffer layers and a Si frame. Al nanostructures embedded in SiO2 are positioned below and directly against the scintillator film. ProTEK B3 serves as a protective layer for etching.

Scientific Achievement
Developed a technique, called ‘CLAIRE’, that extends the incredible resolution of electron microscopy to non-invasive nanoscale imaging of soft matter.

Significance and Impact
The new technique should be useful for understanding key biological processes and could help accelerate the development of new technologies such as high-efficiency photovoltaic cells.

Research Details

  • Traditional electron microscopy damages soft materials and has mainly been used to provide topological or compositional information about inorganic solids
  • In scanning electron microscopy, short wavelength electron beams allow observation on a very small timescale; but destroy most forms of soft matter with their high energy
  • CLAIRE works by combining elements of optical and scanning microscopy into a single imaging platform
  • An ultrathin scintillating film is placed between electron beam and sample
  • When the film is excited by the electron beam, it transfers energy and causes the sample to radiate
  • From the recorded luminescence, an image can be formed that is not restricted by the optical diffraction limit

C Bischak, C Hetherington, Z Wang, J Precht, D Kaz, D Schlom, and N Ginsberg. Nano Letters, April 2015.