Insights from industry

Exploring Tescan's TENSOR: The Medium Voltage, Near-UHV, Integrated 4D-STEM

insights from industryRobert StroudSales ManagerTescan USAIn this interview, AZoM speaks with Robert Stroud, Sales Manager for TESCAN USA, about the applications and benefits of the TENSOR, a medium voltage, near-UHV, integrated 4D-STEM.

1. I understand that the TESCAN TENSOR was engineered completely new from the ground up. Could you provide some insight on why the TESCAN TENSOR is so unique?

There are two major reasons why the TESCAN TENSOR is so special. First, 4D-STEM is an undervalued microscopy technique that has been historically out of reach to many because it has been so difficult to use. We’ve created a tool that does not require a Ph.D. to operate. It offers data robustness and ease-of-use like no other STEM on the market today.

Secondly, in the growing materials science market, both academic and industrial, there is a desire for “tools” as opposed to “instruments”. This is particularly important to ensure that utilization and productivity supports the return on investment (ROI) from increasingly complicated scientific instrument purchases. The ease-of-use of the TESCAN TENSOR supports wider use of the tool in the lab, resulting in faster ROI.

2. How does the TESCAN TENSOR help to advance scientific research and industrial applications?

TESCAN TENSOR is the world’s first dedicated 4D-STEM for multimodal characterization of nanoscale morphological, chemical, and structural properties of functional materials, thin films, and synthetic particles, with stand-out 4D-STEM performance and unprecedented usability.

Scientists, engineers, technicians, and students have long wanted a TEM solution that is readily usable without weeks, or months, of training on complicated electron-optical adjustments and alignments. TESCAN TENSOR lets you spend your time on the microscope interacting with your sample, instead of the optics. This is achieved by the implementation of “measurements” with preset optical properties such as beam current, convergence angle, spot size, and precession ON or OFF adjusted and aligned automatically.

3. Could you elaborate on how the TESCAN TENSOR operates and its performance?

One significant aspect of the TESCAN TENSOR is that it takes 4D-STEM to a new level. It gives you a huge dataset. It uniquely acquires an EDS spectrum, together with a precession electron diffraction pattern (PED), for each pixel in the 4D-STEM dataset. We refer to this capability as Analytical 4D-STEM. Analytical 4D-STEM can be combined with more conventional STEM and STEM tomography measurements to provide a comprehensive solution for nanoscale, multimodal characterization of functional materials, thin films, and synthetic or natural crystals.

Performance of the TENSOR’s 4D-STEM capabilities is supported by ultrafast and precise synchronization of scanning with (direct electron) diffraction imaging, EDS acquisition, electron beam precession, beam blanking, and real-time analysis and processing of the acquired data.

This has been made possible by integrating state-of-the-art components and techniques from the ground up, such as:

  • Hybrid pixel, Direct Electron Detection (DED) for diffraction
  • Near-Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) within the sample area
  • Precession Electron Diffraction (PED)
  • Fast, integrated beam blanking
  • Large solid angle, symmetrical, window-less EDS
  • Near real-time 4D-STEM analysis and processing (Explore)

An integral component of TENSOR is the QUADRO DED. The properties of the DECTRIS QUADRO, notably its large detector size (512x512 pixels), sensitivity, and speed (2,250 fps @ 16 bit) make this detector ideal for precession-assisted 4D-STEM applications.

4. Can you share an application example demonstrating the excellence of the TESCAN TENSOR?

Our work with carbon nanotubes containing iron particles is a great example.

In this work, combined 4D-STEM and EDX analysis was used to study metal nanoparticles encapsulated within carbon nanotubes, producing insights into the metal nanoparticles crystallography and chemistry. The TESCAN TENSOR analytical 4D-STEM system allowed for rapid characterization of complex specimens down to the sub-nanometer scale. Multimodal characterization provided correlated studies into chemistry and structure, which opened new insights into engineering materials from the micron scale, down to the atomic scale.

5. Could you expand on the synergistic operation of the TESCAN TENSOR?

TESCAN TENSOR has been crafted for optimal STEM scanning synchronization. This is where the harmony of TENSOR's features shine. The state-of-the-art hybrid-pixel, direct electron diffraction camera, rapid electrostatic beam blanker, Schottky FEG electron source, and superior vacuum conditions all work in concert, making TENSOR a highly advanced system that is also easy to use.

6. How does the TESCAN TENSOR ensure an unparalleled user experience through its integrated design?

At the time of design of TESCAN TENSOR, we identified a need for much better integration between the microscope, its detectors, the specimen, the user, and even the science, compared to systems with multiple components merged onto legacy TEM platforms. We developed a concept of a “specimen/results-centric” system, as opposed to a more traditional “instrument-centric” system. If the focus is supposed to be on the specimen and the results, and not on the instrument, then the instrument operation must be transparent to the user. The result is an STEM that is designed for measurements, as opposed to a solution where measurements must be designed for the microscope.

7. How does the automatic electron beam precession feature bolster the TESCAN TENSOR’s performance?

Integrated electron beam precession is a key feature of TESCAN TENSOR. The ability to precess the electron beam means that the incident electron beam is tilted and continuously rotated around the central axis of the microscope. Electron beam precession must be aligned carefully to ensure that the precession pivot point is coincident with the surface of the specimen, and that the electron beam converges in the smallest possible round spot. This alignment is achieved effortlessly and automatically, thanks to a unique electron column design and software automation that are both integrated into the fundamental design of the new system architecture of TESCAN TENSOR.

TESCAN TENSOR allows you to easily operate with and without electron beam precession throughout the full range of 4D-STEM measurements, notably for orientation and phase mapping, as well as strain mapping, but also for virtual STEM and diffraction tomography.

Register for the full webinar on TESCAN'S TENSOR here.

About Robert Stroud

Robert Stroud is a Sales Manager for Tescan USA, with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. Robert has served in a variety of positions, some of which include product development and sales and management for several companies before joining Tescan.



This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by TESCAN USA Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit TESCAN USA Inc.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.


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