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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K040340/1
Title: Case for a high-resolution scanning electron microscope (HRSEM)
Principal Investigator: Orpen, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Hallam, Dr KR Miles, Professor MJ Scott, Professor TB
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AWE BLG Productions Ltd EDF Energy
Klocke Nanotechnik GmbH
Department: Interface Analysis Centre
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 June 2013 Ends: 31 May 2016 Value (£): 0
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Feb 2013 EPSRC Equipment Business Case - February 2013 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The procurement of a high-resolution scanning electron microscope (HRSEM), when coupled with unique University of Bristol capability in high-speed atomic force microscopy (HSAFM), will establish an internationally leading 'nano-imaging' facility of significant benefit to UK research where the observation of materials at the nanoscale is essential. Such a facility will contribute to advances in numerous fields of research including structural composites, semiconductors, energy generation and nanotechnology, and will underpin research in the EPSRC challenge themes of Manufacturing the future, Energy, Digital economy, Healthcare technologies, Global uncertainties and Living with environmental change. The proposal is led by the School of Physics at the University of Bristol. It brings together a strong interdisciplinary research team with industrial project partners and builds on the facilities housed in Bristol's Interface Analysis Centre (IAC) and Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information (NSQI).

The equipment requested is a high-resolution scanning electron microscope (HRSEM) with coincident electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis capability. The HRSEM is a cutting edge imaging system for studying the morphology of surfaces down to the nano-scale. Equipped with coincident EBSD and EDX analysis systems, the instrument will have the capability of being able to rapidly map crystallographic orientation and elemental composition over a wide range of length scales - from tens of nanometres up to square centimetres. Specifically, the system will be optimised for cross-correlation mapping (XC-EBSD) of nano- to micro-scale features to quantitatively map the distribution of residual stresses with high accuracy. This technique represents the next generation for EBSD analysis and will provide an invaluable tool for better understanding the chemical and structural interplay occurring at different length scales in materials of all types. Such analysis specifically requires a high brightness, high stability primary electron beam that can only be provided by an HRSEM with field emission electron source. The system will be further enhanced by the incorporation of an argon ion sputter-gun that will provide an intrinsic capability for sample cleaning.

The HSREM will be located in the IAC's newly renovated laboratory space in the basement of the HH Wills Physics Laboratory. The Centre has over 20 years operational experience in successfully running and managing a suite of cutting-edge analytical instrumentation running 24-7. Located at the heart of the University precinct, the Centre's dedicated academic and technical staff provide extensive experience in the analysis of materials and surfaces of all types. The Centre is an internationally recognised hub for instigating and catalysing cross-disciplinary research. It has strong industrial links and is the core contributor to Bristol's joint Nuclear Research Centre (NRC) with the University of Oxford. In recent years the Centre has received substantial University investment, including the 2010 purchase of a 'Dualbeam' ion-electron beam instrument (~£750k) and a current investment of £750k in the provision of newly refurbished laboratory and office space in the HH Wills Physics Laboratory. Key to the present proposal is the IAC's experience and capability for electron microscopy, including the handling and analysis of a wide variety of sample types - nano to macro.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk