A carbon nanotube AFM tip. (Image: Xidex)
December 7, 2007 — Xidex Corp., an Austin, Texas-based nanotechnology company, has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for scaleable manufacturing of carbon nanotube (CNT) based field emission sources for use in scanning electron beam instruments such as scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) and transmission electron microscopes (TEMs).
The project is aimed at significant improvement in the imaging resolution, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and processing speed of SEMs and TEMs used in materials science, biotechnology, forensics, medical research, the semiconductor industry, and the emerging nanotechnology industry.
“We plan to manufacture CNT field emitters on metal substrates that can be integrated into SEM and TEM electron guns,” said Vladimir Mancevski, Xidex’s chief technology officer. “The company plans to demonstrate a scaleable production processes for making the CNT emitters.”
CNT emitters directly address a longstanding problem in electron microscopy, said Paul McClure, Xidex’s president and CEO. “Electron optical columns have improved significantly in the last 15 years, but the field emission source itself has basically not changed. Our carbon nanotube based source represents a new possibility for a breakthrough. This project will have a huge impact on all areas of electron microscopy.”