See atoms from 6000 miles away

September 6, 2005 – JEOL, a manufacturer of transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), has developed a new capability known as Sirius that allows remote operation and imaging. “Now you can see atoms from 6000 miles away,” says Mike Kersker, JEOL USA VP and product manager.

Sirius has been in beta site testing at select installations for several months, including Northwestern University, Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, and Lehigh University, where the JEOL JEM-2200FS TEM will be remotely operated by microscopists at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

“You don’t need to be seated at the TEM to run the experiments. Sirius is fully integrated with the JEOL TEM, allowing it to be controlled from an adjacent room, a different building, or from a completely different part of the world,” Kersker said.

Kersker explains that the Sirius microprocessor – not the Windows operating platform – controls all TEM functions, including the microscope lenses, Piezo-controlled motorized goniometer, specimen tilt and position, and magnification settings. All other analysis capabilities, including EELS spectroscopy, EFTEM imaging, simultaneous EDS and EELS mapping, EDS and EELS line scans and spectrum images, are controlled through the GATAN Microscopy Suite and Terminal Services.

“The entire analytical capability of the instrument is available remotely and is operated exactly as it would be operated locally,” Kersker summarizes.

Remote operation expands the functionality of the JEOL field emission TEMs, making it possible for joint research to be conducted without the need for microscopists to travel to the TEM installation site. It facilitates time sharing for the most efficient use of the instrument and for educating students at various campus locations, as is done at the University of Delaware, for example, or allows for the instrument to be set up in the best possible location and controlled from the user’s desk or a more conducive setting for analysis. The remote connection can also be used by JEOL service or applications engineers to test an instrument or to set up an experiment remotely.

To prove this point, JEOL recently demonstrated Sirius at the Microscopy and Microanalysis trade show held in Hawaii in August. Working closely with the Hawaii Convention Center, Pacific DirectConnect, and the University of Hawaii, JEOL remotely operated a JEM-2100F field emission TEM installed at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois from the floor of the convention center in Honolulu.

A customer from California performed a variety of experiments using TEM samples that he had previously shipped to Northwestern University, where they were loaded onto the specimen stage in the TEM electron optics column and then positioned, imaged, and analyzed from a quarter of the way around the world. The TEM was outfitted with STEM, multiple CCD cameras, an Oxford EDS system, and a Gatan Tridiem energy filter, all of which were operated with Sirius software.


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