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Detector for measuring electron energy in scanning electron microscopes

Country of Origin: Spain
Reference Number: TOES20210430001
Publication Date: 30 April 2021

Summary

A Spanish university has developed a detection device to measure electron energy in scanning electron microscopes that allows the measurement of both the intensity and the energy of electrons that are generated within it. The research group is looking for companies interested in licensing the patent-pending technology.

Description

Nowadays there are two existing devices for measuring electrons in Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM): energy filters for electrons and solid state detectors. Electron energy filters allow spectra with energy resolutions to be obtained. These filters are a bulky system that is difficult to integrate into the limited space of SEMs. This fact means that these are only used in other types of microscopes, known as TEM. Solid-state electron detectors, which are used in SEM, only allow the signal intensity to be measured. Therefore, it is not possible to detect whether changes in the measured electrical signal are due to a change in intensity or to a change in the energy of the incident electrons. 

A research group from a Spanish university has developed a detector to measure electron energy in Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) that allows to measure both the intensity and the energy of electrons that are generated in it.

The proposed detector for measuring the energy of electrons in scanning electron microscopes makes it possible to overcome the aforementioned limitation. Specifically, the device allows to measure the intensity and also the energy of electrons PE (Primary Electrons), TE (Transmitted Electrons), SE (Secondary Electrons), BSE (Backscattered Electrons) that are generated in SEM.

The university is looking for industrial partners to collaborate through a patent licence agreement.
Image

Advantages and Innovations

-  It is possible to obtain images with chemical contrast in any  SEM.
- It is manufactured using standard technologies, is very compact in size, does not require the use of electromagnetic filters, and is inexpensive to manufacture.
- It allows to obtain with the sensor in integrator mode the average energy of the electrons generated in a point of the material to be analyzed.
- It allows to obtain with the sensor in counting mode an energy spectrum of the electrons at a point of the material being analyzed.
- It allows to measure the intensity or energy of the incident electron separately on the sensor.

Stage Of Development

Under development/lab tested

Stage Of Development Comment

At present, the research group is working on a prototype chip that will be tested in an electron microscope at the University.

Requested partner

The university is looking for companies that manufacture or use scanning electron microscopes in their production process and that may be interested in incorporating a novel detector to measure electron energy.

A partner is sought who knows the technology and can do component level validation in a relevant environment. The university wants to go hand in hand with the licensee company that is willing to take the technology to higher TRLs through scientific and technical advice.

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