Technicians in charge: Anna Esther Carrillo (SEM) and Judith Oró (TEM)
Scientist in charge: Lluís Balcells

Scientific & Technical Services

Electron Microscopy (TEM/SEM)

The Electron Microscopy Service focuses on high-profile nanostructural characterization, eliminating technical limits imposed by external services. The lab offers technical support by two high-profiled staff members, electronic management and an effective user-training system at the hands of the technical staff, to allow for the self-service of the equipment.

Scientific equipment available

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

  • QUANTA FEI 200 FEG-ESEM: It is a powerful imaging tool for material inspection, with a resolution of 1.2 nm at high vacuum and 1.5 nm at low vacuum (ESEM mode). Especially suitable for the morphological characterization of nanocrystals, nanostructured materials and surfaces.
  • Energy Dispersive X-Ray (EDX) System: For qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis, elemental mapping and linescans.
  • Nano-lithography by a RAITH e-beam: An open system for lithography on any type of functional material that, combined with the clean room, allows the design of new nanostructures and devices.

Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)

JEM 1210 JEOL: The JEOL-JEM1210 is a 120 KV transmission electron microscope with a point to point resolution of 3.2 Å. This equipment is useful for medium resolution structure imaging and characterization of nanoparticle systems. The microscope is equipped with a standard single tilt holder and an analytical specimen holder with double tilt (Tilt X=± 60o, Tilt Y=± 30o), a GATAN 646 model, that allows the exploration of large volumes of reciprocal space by electron diffraction. The microscope is equipped with an ORIUS 831 SC 600 GATAN camera. When operating in image mode, TEM provides information about the size, morphology and microstructure of the samples. In diffraction mode, it allows the determination of the cell’s parameters, space group and superstructures, incommensurate modulations, etc.

Optical microscope

OLYMPUS BX51: It allows the easy switching between the methods of observation, from transmission mode to reflection mode, giving a magnificent optical performance and an outstanding fluorescence capacity, optimizing the contrast and resolution thanks to the Nomarski DIC lens. It has 4 lenses (5, 20, 50 and 100) x10, an OLYMPUS camera with DP20 controller and a mercury lamp for fluorescence observation U-RFL-T.

Use of the Service in 2019

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

The SEM in 2019 gave service for a total of 1,142 hours, 45 % of them with a technician, and 55 % of self-service, with an average of 103.8 hours per month. Of these, 1,081 hours have been for internal users, and 61 hours for external users (Kostal Electrical S.A., Fuelium S.L., Fundació Recerca Hospital Vall d’Hebron (VHIR), Horizons Optical, S.L.U. and Platea Graphic S.L.) and users from the NFFA Europe Project.

A total of 89 users have used the SEM, belonging to all the research groups at ICMAB: 29.2 % SUMAN group, 15.8 % NANOPTO, 13.6 N&N, 10.5 % Solid State Chemistry, 8.3 % ACNM, 6.2 % MULFOX, 4.3 % LMI, 2.8 % NANOMOL, 2.5 % Laser Processing Group, 1.6 % FunNanoSurf, 1.1 % CMEOS, 0.7 % Crystallography group.

Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)

During 2019 the TEM service has performed a total of 434 hours, 98.4 % with a technician, and 1.6 % with self-service. Internal users represent 91.6 % of the total number of hours, distributed as follows: 34 % Solid State Chemistry, 30.6 % N&N, 11.3 % SUMAN group, 5.7 % NANOPTO, 4.9 % FunNanoSurf, 4.2 % ACNM, 3.6 % Crystallography group, 2.9 % LMI and 2.9 % NANOMOL.

The external users represent 8.4 % (36.5 hours), distributed as follows: 30.1 % UAB Argó Programme, 27.4 % ICN (Inorganic Nanoparticles Department), 20.5 % UB (Physics Department), 11 % IQAC-CSIC (Colloidal and Interfacial Chemistry Department), 6.8 % Paperdropdx and 4.1 % University of La Laguna.

Optical microscope

The Olympus BX51 optics microscope has been part of the Electron Microscopy Service since July 2019 and operates in self-service mode. From January to June, the equipment has been used by 36 users from 13 ICMAB PIs, with a total of 188 h. From July to December the optical service has been used for 201.55 hours, the distribution of the hours by research units is as follows: 31.8 % FunNanoSurf group, 31.4 % N&N group, 14.4 % NANOPTO, 12.8 % NANOMOL, 3.2 % MULFOX, 3.1 % LMI, 2.3 % SUMAN and 0.9 % Solid State Chemistry group.

Outreach, publications and projects in which the service has participated

The Electron Microscopy (SEM/TEM) service has participated in many science education activities and scientific dissemination activities aimed at primary, secondary, high school and postgraduate students.

Activities for primary school students: workshops to learn about materials “Converteix-te en un detectiu de materials” (ESCOLAB), in January and March 2019.

Activities for secondary school students: ESCOLAB school visits “Els materials del futur per energia” (February 2019),  Visit for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 2029), Festival 10alamenos9 Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (April 2019), ESCOLAB visits “Els materials del futur per nanomedicina” and “Els materials del futur per energia” (May 2019), “La taula periòdica al mòbil” for the Science Week (November 2019)

Activities for university students: visit of students of the Master's Degree in Biological and Environmental Engineering, taught at the UAB School of Engineering (February 2019), participation in the 16th edition of the “Programa Argó” organized by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona ​​(June-July 2019) and participation in the “Meet the Scientific Equipment Platforms of ICMAB” on 28 October 2019.

During 2019, many of the Institute’s research results in publications, theses, master and degree final projects, meetings, congresses, have used these service. The service is co-author of the following publications: 

  • Microwave-assisted synthesis of SPION-reduced graphene oxide hybrids for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Llenas, S. Sandoval, P. M. Costa, J. Oró-Solé, S. Lope-Piedrafita, B. Ballesteros, K. T. Al-Jamal, G. Tobias. Nanomaterials, 9, 1364, (2019).
  • On the study of Ca and Mg deintercalation from ternary tantalum nitrides. Verrelli, A. P. Black, C. Frontera, J. Oró-Solé, E. Arroyo-de Dompablo, A. Fuertes, M. R. Palacin. ACS Omega, 4, 8943−8952, (2019).
  • Topochemical nitridation of Sr2FeMoO6. Ceravola, C. Frontera, J. Oró-Solé, A.P. Black, C. Ritter, I. Mata, E. Molins, J. Fontcuberta, A. Fuertes. Chemical Communication, 55, 3105, (2019).
  • Spontaneous in-flight assembly of magnetic nanoparticles into macroscopic chains. Balcells, I. Stankovic, Z. Konstantinovic, A. Alagh, V. Fuentes, L. Lopez-Mir, J. Oró, N. Mestres, C. Garcia, A. Pomar, B. Martinez. Nanoscale, 30, 14081-14474, (2019).
  • Low temperature processing of solution-derived ceria deposits on flat surfaces of 3D-printed polyamide. Morales-Planas, A. Calleja, V.R.Vlad, J. Oró-Solé, J. Minguella-Canela, J. Farjas. Thin solid films, 685, 75-80, (2019).
  • Nanocompòsits d'òxid de grafè reduït decorat amb nanopartícules superparamagnètiques d'òxid de ferro. Bertran Inglada, S. Sandoval, J. Oró Solé, A. Sánchez, G. Tobías Rossell. Revista de la Societat Catalana de Química, 18, 39-51, (2019).
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Web & Graphic Editor
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