Press Release

Day: 20 May 2020

Scientists from several institutions are opening new ways of material microscopy analysis


Further advancement of material microscopy analysis using the innovated LiteScope device, developed and manufactured by Brno-based NenoVision; that is the goal of a new project launched this April in co-operation with the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. Apart from NenoVision, historically the first spin-off company of the project's other participant CEITEC BUT research centre, the other participants also include the Faculty of Information Technology of Brno University of Technology (FIT BUT), Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials (RCPTM) of the Palacký University in Olomouc and Institute of Physics of Materials (ÚFM) of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

"We have high hopes for the project consortium to significantly help us launch our products on the global market. At this time, almost no starting company producing scientific devices has sufficient capacity and necessary know-how to be able to approach customers all over the world with application designs on its own. It is therefore logical to co-operate with university partners who can provide long-term assistance with the development of suitable solutions for specific research areas. This co-operation is mutually beneficial. Our partners are the first to use our new measurement techniques and they can use them to gain deeper understanding of the analysed phenomena, material qualities and the new techniques," says NenoVision's Jan Neuman, principal investigator of the project.

The partners' ambition is for the Czech Republic to become not only the leader in electron microscopy, but also in ground-breaking correlative techniques enabling combining information from various types of microscopes, e.g., atomic force microscope with scanning electron microscope.

LiteScope, a microscope developed in 2016, is the only microscope in the world able to simultaneously connect 2D image from electron microscope with 3D image from atomic force microscope with high precision. Thanks to these properties, it can be used for sample analyses in the areas of nanotechnology, material research, semiconductor industry and solar cell research. The objective of the Next Generation of Integrated Atomic Force and Scanning Electron Microscopy (GEFSEM) project is to add new functions to the device, which are currently available only in a limited way or not at all.

"Within the project, we plan to develop new modules that are highly attractive for the current research even at our workplace. We have really high hopes for the strong consortium we were able to put together for this project. Our group will participate in the development and application testing of advanced methods of scanning probe microscopy. Integration of these methods into electron microscope will yield a unique experimental set for research and development of 2D material-based electronic and optoelectronic components," says Miroslav Kolíbal of CEITEC BUT.

Researchers from the Faculty of Information Technology (FIT) of BUT were also interested in participating in interdisciplinary research. "Our research group has long been dealing with image processing and computer vision. Pictures from electron microscope and other scanning devices are somewhat 'exotic' and we are interested in finding out what we are able to view and recognise in such images. It is interesting to see how experience from processing of one type of images can enrich a completely different discipline," adds Adam Herout from FIT BUT.


ÚFM has already co-operated with NenoVisio, they participated in three joint projects in the past with a view to improving and extending certain functional properties of the LiteScope microscope. "We see mutual benefits in the continuation of our co-operation. From the viewpoint of ÚFM, this includes, in particular, the expansion of the portfolio of characterisation methods to include correlated measurements of structures and electrical properties of surfaces of semiconductor films. We find the possibility of combining direct measurements on LiteScope with theoretical and computer models of defects in solid substances very interesting and it is one of the main research directions of our group," Roman Gröger of ÚFM explains the reasons for participation in the project.

Olomouc-based RCPTM will test the methods developed in the project on its two-dimensional materials which it develops within a project focusing on 2D chemistry. "We will be enriched by new possibilities for analysis of 2D materials and provide feedback to NenoVision and help it identify interesting issues that are being addressed in the area of chemistry and properties of 2D materials. For us, correlative methods open new perspectives on the nano-world and allow us to study properties that we had previously obtained only with great difficulties," explains Michal Otyepka, deputy director of RCPTM. He appreciates the joint project not only for the possibility of extending the amount of analytical methods used, but also for the chance to communicate directly with the manufacturer of the device or share know-how in the area of nanomaterial analysis with other partners.

The project is financed with State support in the amount of 23,736,761 Czech crowns provided within the TREND Programme of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The project will run until 31 March 2023. 


Author: Kozubová Hana, Mgr.

Last modified: 2021-02-11T14:37:18

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