Hybrid pixel detector upgrade for electron energy loss spectrometer


This proposal provides funding for a direct or hybrid pixel detector upgrade for the electron energy loss spectrometer (EELS) equipped on SuperSTEM3, an UltraSTEM100 MC monochromated electron microscope that is part of the instrumentation suite at SuperSTEM, the EPSRC National Research Facility (NRF) for Advanced Electron Microscopy (EM). SuperSTEM is an internationally-renowned user facility that offers access to world-leading instrumentation and expertise enabling the direct imaging of atomic structures as well as the determination of elemental composition, along with chemical and bonding analysis, down to single atom precision.

The facility supports the elucidation of structure-property relationships in advanced materials and devices for the benefit of the scientific user community, stemming from fields as diverse as condensed matter physics, catalysis, bio-materials research, chemistry, mineralogy, and nuclear materials research, amongst many others. An essential part of the facility's remit is to offer early access to new or emerging technologies with a view to demonstrate their benefit and importance to the scientific community.

This EPSRC Capital Award for Core Equipment will enable the implementation of the first direct electron detectors optimised for electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) at the low primary beam acceleration voltage (low kV - 40-100kV) at which the facility's instruments operate. This detection technology revolutionised imaging in the field of cryo-EM, contributing to the award of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and it is expected it will have a similar impact in spectroscopy, especially in applications that require the utmost sensitivity.


The equipment will help support the entire facility user base of over 120 active users, including numerous early career researchers and doctoral students with on-going projects at the facility, and it will also attract interest from a broadened research base keen to take advantage of fast signal acquisition and single electron counting capabilities in spectroscopy.