Product News: First TESCAN SEM Installation for Life Science Applications in Australia

14 Feb 2017


AXT are proud to announce that they have recently completed the installation of a TESCAN VEGA SEM microscope at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute where it will be used exclusively for life science applications. QIMR Berghofer is a medical research institution specialising in cancer, infectious diseases, mental health and chronic disorders.

TESCAN VEGA SEMs are robust microscopes capable of producing high resolution images of biological, materials and mining-related samples. They are characterised by their reliability and ease-of-use. With many VEGA installations around the world, they are also made popular by their excellent performance to cost ratio and lack of required maintenance.

The system installed at QIMR Berghofer is a VEGA3 LMU equipped with peltier-cooled stage and low vacuum secondary electron TESCAN detector (LVSTD). It is capable of resolving features and nanoparticles down to 3nm.

The LMU variant has a large chamber and is capable of variable pressure imaging. This type of environment is required for non-conductive samples (e.g. biological samples, polymers, ceramics, etc.) samples which are prone to charging under high vacuum conditions due to their non-conductive nature. The LVSTD has also been developed specifically for imaging under these conditions. The system can also be fitted with water vapour injection to allow imaging of live cells.

The peltier-cooled stage is also of great benefit to biological researchers. It can cool specimens to sub-zero temperatures and protects them from changes that may happen at ambient temperatures such as water/moisture sublimation or potential damage from the electron beam.

This hardware configuration is ideally suited to biological imaging applications which are for the most part non-conducting. Imaging using SEM at high magnifications will provide QIMR Berghofer researchers with high levels of topographical and structural information while the systems’ large depth of field will ensure each frame provides the most detail possible.

QIMR Berghofer researchers have to date been using SEM facilities at other institutions. Having the TESCAN VEGA located in-house will mean that they will have better and increased access to the capability allowing them to accelerate their research. In addition, they will be able to train up more operators who can also benefit from access to the technology. This will assist them with maintaining their high ranking in the global medical research arena.