Category Archives: Microscopy

Precision Measurement Tools and Techniques



FOTA : Dr. Tony Carusone at the Univ of Toronto has developed patent-pending breakthrough technology that both efficiently and affordably performs optoelectronic conversion for high-speed data signals within a tiny footprint.

Sustained data transfer rates equivalent to three parallel streams of high-definition video have been demonstrated in prototype components. Devices and customer evaluation boards are currently available for testing by qualified partners.

Dr. Carusone’s technology enables dramatic reductions in both cost and size while enabling significant performance improvements.

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July 28, 2013 · 10:28 pm

Microscope probe-sharpening technique improves resolution, durability (w/video)








A traditionally etched tungsten STM probe, sharpened to a 1-nanometer point after bombarding it with ions

Watch: the new microscope probe sharpening process

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Royal Microscopical Society’s Journal






Journal of Microscopy July 2012

Edited By: Tony Wilson

Impact Factor: 1.872

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2010: 4/9 (Microscopy)

Online ISSN: 1365-2818

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Microscopy: The Global Market











  • The global market for microscopes and accessories was worth about $3.1 billion in 2010. Sales are projected to exceed $3.2 billion in 2011 and $4.1 billion in 2016, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% for 2011 to 2016.
  • The market for microscopes is estimated to reach nearly $2.7 billion in 2011 and is expected to increase at a 4.9% compound annual growth rate to reach nearly $3.4 billion in 2016.
  • The market for accessories and supplies is valued at nearly $488 million in 2011. This should reach nearly $632 million in 2016, for a CAGR of 5.3%.


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3Dimensions positioning from a single transmitter

Technology originally developed to track badgers underground could soon be used to locate people in an emergency situation such as a bomb attack or earthquake.

GPS is good at pinpointing locations in open spaces but below the surface it’s a different story. The limitations of conventional tracking technology were exposed in the 2005 London bombings, and numerous earthquakes since, where the emergency services struggled to locate people in underground areas or buried beneath debris.

Positioning indoors is also a challenge, with no clear winning technology that is able to address people’s day-to-day needs, such as finding their way around an airport.

In 2009 Andrew Markham and Niki Trigoni, from Oxford University’s Department of Computer Science, faced similar problems when they joined a project to study badgers in Oxford’s Wytham Woods. The animals spend much of their lives underground where conventional technology couldn’t keep tabs on them.

The solution developed by Andrew and Niki is a technology based on generating very low frequency fields. This has the unique advantage of penetrating obstacles, enabling positioning and communication even through thick layers of rock, soil and concrete.

‘Most technologies are only checking the magnitude of the signal – the signal strength from each transmitter – to work out distance,’ Andrew told Mark Piesing of In contrast the new technology measures ‘vectors, which give you the magnitude and direction… Our technology can work out your position in three dimensions from a single transmitter.’ This contrasts with other approaches such as GPS or WiFi which are based on triangulation and typically require signals from at least four transmitters.

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Plasmonics used for early detection of lung cancer

The BiopSys team has already developed the technique to the point where it produces “a higher-fidelity, more sensitive measurement than in any existing commercial technology,” Walker says. “That’s a good first step. But that’s in a lab setting.” He hopes that companies will soon seek to license the technology, for which his team has made several patent applications. “The hope and expectation is that, as this technology develops, it gets translated onto end users – companies that will manufacture the devices, and doctors that will use them.” That could take another five to 10 years, he says.

Source: Prof Gilbert Walker Laboratory at the University of Toronto


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Novel SEM-based diffraction method for characterising nitride thin films

SEM imaging of dislocations






Researchers at Strathclyde (Carol Trager-Cowan and Naresh-Kumar) and Oxford (Angus Wilkinson) Universities have been collaborating for some time on the development of novel SEM-based diffraction methods for characterising nitride thin films. Electron channelling contrast imaging (ECCI) has a long association with the Department of Materials at Oxford. Modern FEG SEM instruments and digital imaging capabilities make it possible to fully realise the possibilities identified and pursued in much earlier pioneering work by Profs Hirsch and Booker at Oxford.  The recent Physical Review Letter shows that threading dislocations in GaN films with the hexagonal wurtzite structure can be reliably imaged and characterised as edge, screw, or mixed types using a very simple and unambiguous analysis of the black-white contrast associated with each defect when imaged using controlled diffraction conditions. The innovation offers improved quantification of dislocation densities and speed of analysis – two factors of concern to crystal growers we are working with

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Chemical analysis of collagen used in Archaeology Research Studies

Thirty-seven skeletons found in a mass burial site in the grounds of St John’s College may not be who they initially seemed, according to Oxford researchers studying the remains.

Researchers from the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at the University of Oxford carried out a chemical analysis of collagen from the bones and teeth of some of the individuals and concluded that they had had a substantial amount of seafood in their diet. It was higher in marine protein than that found in the local Oxfordshire population, as recorded in existing data.

Testing was done using strontium isotope analysis of tooth enamel, a technique which provides evidence of where an individual lived when the tooth formed. Strontium, a naturally occurring element in rocks and soils, is absorbed by plants and animals, and can be found in trace amounts in mammalian teeth. Strontium isotopes reflect the particular geological conditions so even small traces can be revealing of that individual’s location.

The researchers also looked at data relating to previous research in which an isotopic analysis of dismembered skeletons found in a burial pit at the Weymouth Ridgeway in Dorset identified the individuals as Scandinavian Viking raiders. The decapitated skeletons in Dorset were dated at between 890 and 1030 AD, and were thought to be a group of young men from different countries across Scandinavia. The isotopic analysis of the Dorset group when compared with the individuals found in the mass burial site at St John’s College show similarities.

further information

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New SuperSTEM handbook on aberration corrected STEM in press with Wiley!



The Universities of Manchester and Oxford will be joining the SuperSTEM consortium in conjunction with the re-launch of SuperSTEM as the £4.5M EPSRC National Facility for Aberration-Corrected STEM in mid-September.

Scientists of both Universities have long standing collaborations with SuperSTEM. These collaborations include the characterisation of graphene (which contributed to the Nobel Prize winning word of Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov), other 2-D crystals, nanotubes, nanowires, ceramics and composites.

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High Efficiency, Quantitative Dioxins Screening at the Level of Interest in Feed and Food using Advanced GC-MS/MS (Mass Spectrometry)

The largest source of human dioxin exposure comes though dietary intake of food of animal origin. Consequently, there are extensive monitoring programs in place to identify potential contamination entering into the food chain. This application note describes the use of the Thermo Scientific TSQ Quantum XLS Ultra GC-MS/MS as applied to high efficiency screening of PCDDs/PCDFs in feed and food samples at the levels of interest and the level of agreement with “gold standard” confirmatory analysis using GC-HRMS (Thermo Scientific DFS)


Determination of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters in Salmon Oil Using Automated Sample Preparation
Salmon oil is an excellent source of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. The two main fatty acids EPA and DHA have been identified as important health factors and are correlated with a normal function of the heart. This application note demonstrates the use of the Agilent 7696A Sample Prep WorkBench for derivatization and subsequent determination of both EPA and DHA from salmon oil capsules.


Analysis of Sugar Alcohol Excipients in Pharmaceuticals Using Rezex IEX HPLC Columns
Tablet formulations of most major drug products contain significant amounts of excipients in their formulations. Rezex ion exclusion HPLC columns are the solution for several published USP methodologies. The Rezex RPM (Pb+2) and RCM/RCU (Ca+2) phases will give you the selectivity needed while the short Rezex RPM 100 x 7.8 mm columns will help to increase throughput.


…………..Current European Union regulations permit the use of GC-MS/MS and bioassay techniques for screening dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs at the level of interest in feed and food samples.2 GC coupled with triple quadrupole MS is particularly suitable screening technique as isotope dilution is retained as well as the high selectivity of the MS/MS experiment……..


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Ambient Kelvin Probe


Base and System Packages Description

KP Technology Kelvin probes are digital systems, i.e. the Kelvin probe frequency, amplitude of

oscillation, mean spacing, backing potential and data acquisition parameters can be set by the

user. Further this is an off-null system, i.e. the work function is calculated using 2 or more signal

peak-to-peak measurements performed at backing potentials on either side of balance. Thus

the actual Kelvin probe signal is visible at all times during measurement. In contrast null-based

detection systems require a phase sensitive detector and the Kelvin probe signal is nulled


The ambient Kelvin probe comes complete with ambient head unit, tip preamplifier, driving

electronics, data acquisition system, cables and manual. Our Systems include the PC host

computer, optical mounts based upon a 250 x 250 (mm) or 450 x 450 mm base. The KP head

unit is positioned vertical above the sample holder can can be manually translated 25.4 mm

normal to the specimen. Either KP020 or SKP5050 system can be upgraded to include the

LE450 Faraday Enclosure or RHC020 Relative Humidity enclosure. Our spectroscopy upgrade

(SPS030/040) is suitable for studying light sensitive specimens including semiconductors and

solar cells.

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