Electron microscopes are hugely powerful machines, being able to image materials down to the atomic-scale. However with this magnifying power comes the risk of damaging the very sample you are investigating. Just like how at the hospital you would want to take an x-ray image with the very minimum exposure possible, we need to do the same in the electron microscope. We want to get the maximum amount of information for the minimum usage of electron dose. At the same time, we also want to do this with faster imaging (more frames per second) and using lower cost or more readily available detectors.
If successful it will be possible to image some of the research communities most exciting materials for batteries, energy storage, or catalysis with lower illumination doses. This will equip researchers with more precise and reproducible data to base their studies on, and lead to faster more reliable materials discoveries.
When asked about his research Prof Jones stated that “Electron microscopy has the power to image materials and identify materials down to the atomic-scale, but if we are to trust the results we have to know we aren’t damaging the samples we study. This research will develop tools to minimise the power in the imaging beam we use at the same time as improving the clarity of the images formed. Together this should unlock more reliable materials science discoveries.”