Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Electron microscopy and microanalysis of materials on submicrometer scale

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.04.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Materials science and technology   

Code Science Field
T000  Technological sciences   

Code Science Field
2.05  Engineering and Technology  Materials engineering 
low voltage electron microscopy, submicrometer-scale electron-probe microanalysis
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  06627  PhD Slavko Bernik  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  629 
2.  03937  PhD Miran Čeh  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  655 
3.  02556  PhD Goran Dražić  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2011 - 2013  1,046 
4.  05216  Medeja Gec    Technical associate  2011 - 2014  42 
5.  12954  Ksenija Gradišek  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  16 
6.  30140  Jurij Pustinek  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014 
7.  15597  PhD Zoran Samardžija  Materials science and technology  Head  2011 - 2014  583 
8.  19030  PhD Sašo Šturm  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  661 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  91,921 
2.  0276  Cinkarna - Metallurgical and Chemical Industry, Celje, Inc.  Celje - poštni predali  5042801  94 
The characterization of new materials that were made by modern nano-technologies also requires the development and optimization of appropriate analytical methods which are modified and adapted for the analyses on submicrometer and/or nanometer scale. So far the methods of conventional scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) were not suitable for such analyses. The development of modern analytical equipment, first of all the high-resolution scanning electron microscopes with field-emission gun cathode (FEGSEM), nowadays allows to make a step further toward modified and optimized SEM/EPMA methods, which can be implemented for the materials research on submicrometer scale. In regard to this a final objective of proposed project is the application of improved SEM/EPMA methods for the investigation and characterization of the morphology and chemical composition of different nano-sized materials such as submicrometer-thick nanostructured ferromagnetic thin films and nano-rods based on Co-Pt and Fe-Pd alloys, nano-particles of titanium oxide TiO2, reaction diffusion layers in doped Nd-Fe-B permanent magnets, nano-particles and ceramics based on ZnO and others. The main research activities are basically related to the methodological aspects of applied analytical approaches. Here we will draw our attention (i) to the knowledge and study of the interaction of low-energy electron beam and solid matter, (ii) to testing and application of various physical models for the depth-distribution of excited X-rays in investigated materials and (iii) to planning, estimation and determination of optimal experimental analytical conditions for each material individually. The findings obtained from modeling, calculations and simulations will be used as input parameters for further optimization during experimental measurements. As a final point, the improved and verified SEM/EPMA analytical procedures will be established for particular materials which will ensure the accuracy, reproducibility and reliability of quantitative analyses of chemical compositions of related materials on submicrometer scale. For the realization of project activities we will use the latest, state-of-the-art analytical equipment in the field of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electron probe microanalysis (EPMA-EDS,WDS). The whole analytical equipment required for project is available in Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI). Within the project we will investigate the materials which are the subject of current research in the Department for nanostructured materials of JSI and also the materials based on TiO2 nanoparticles from domestic industry partner Cinkarna Celje d.d. The transfer of knowledge and education from this field is also predicted to be realized with this partner.
Significance for science
Within the project we have developed and implemented improved methods of scanning electron microscopy and electron-probe microanalysis for the characterization of materials on submicrometer scale. This relatively new field of analysis has been actualized in particular in recent years with the development of modern analytical equipment, i.e. new high-resolution FEG scanning electron microscopes. With the increasing use of new nanotechnologies, either in research or industry, the number of new nanostructured materials also increases requiring the application of new methods and/or modification of existing conventional methods of characterization. In this context, the project activities were mainly focused on introducing advanced methods of microscopy (FEGSEM) and microanalysis (EDS, WDS) for the investigation of morphology and chemical composition of materials on the sub-micrometer scale. The research was based on synergistic combination of detailed knowledge of theory of electron-probe microanalysis and physics of electron-solid interaction solid with the performance of spectroscopic measurements on selected materials that were optimized for each material separately. In the research, we paid special attention to (i) study the physics of interaction of low-energy primary electrons (E (10 keV) with a solid matter, (ii) testing and application of various physical models of the depth-distribution of X-rays excited in the investigated materials, and (iii) planning and determining the optimal analytical parameters for the low-energy X-ray spectroscopy ((3 keV) using ab initio-calculations and simulations Monte Carlo. The obtained knowledge made it possible to achieve improved and verified analytical methods that provide reliable, precise and accurate quantitative electron probe microanalysis with actual submicrometer/nanometer spatial analytical resolution. The advanced analytical methods were successfully applied for the investigation of various materials, such as: nanostructured thin ferromagnetic layers and nano-rods based on Co-Fe-Pt and Pd alloys, nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, TiO2, reaction diffusion layers in doped permanent magnets based on Nd-Fe-B, ZnO nanoparticles and ceramic thin films, and others. The results of research were presented in numerous scientific publications and presentations at national and international scientific conferences, which confirm the relevance of research results of the project team.
Significance for the country
The results of the research that were presented in scientific journals and at international scientific conferences have contributed to the promotion of Slovenia abroad. Published scientific papers, invited lectures, presentations and other contributions to conferences actually confirm that the performed research in the relevant research field is on a comparable level as elsewhere in the world. Participation at conferences enabled us to have numerous contacts with foreign experts and scientists, which we have informed about our research work and achieved results. At the conferences we had access to the latest presented achievements and knowledge as well as the opportunity for constructive discussions and exchange of experience in the field of materials characterization with advanced electron-probe microanalysis methods. Direct importance of the project for the economy was in the fact that we have used new knowledge acquired from the project research for the education and training of the co-workers from our industrial project partner (Cinkarna Celje). At the same time we have enabled to industrial partner to gain access to modern, top-level research equipment at the Institute "Jožef Stefan". The general importance of research results is certainly their direct impact on raising the quality of research and the level of knowledge in the relevant field and on the introduction and use of modified and advanced methods of high-resolution electron microscopy and microanalysis for the characterization of modern materials.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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