The groups of Dagmar Gerthsen (LEM, KIT) and Rasmus Schröder (University of Heidelberg) contribute to Thrust B3 where electron microscopy is used to study structure and local functional properties of materials in the Cluster’s manufactured novel 3D systems. Their properties have to be understood across several length scales – from the atomic structure and molecular packing, via phase morphology of fabricated heterogeneous systems, to the interaction of materials with bioorganic molecules, cells, and tissue. Electron microscopy – in combination with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy and cathodoluminescence - provides high-resolution structural information in combination with required information on the local chemical composition, electronic and optical properties. Surface properties are assessed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), while the study of internal material properties requires thin electron-transparent specimens, which are studied by (scanning) transmission electron microscopy ((S)TEM). A tremendous variety of operating modes exist within these three classes of electron microscopies, which will be adapted and optimized to the needs of the materials of interest. Goal of the Thrust is the development of advanced techniques for sample preparation and for minimizing damage of electron-beam sensitive materials such as polymers and biological materials. Connected aims concern contrast enhancement in these weakly scattering materials and reconstruction of the three-dimensional structure by electron tomography to understand and optimize fabrication processes.
Thrust B3 will receive a large variety of different materials and 3D systems from Thrusts A, B and C. Tasks range from atomic-scale resolution imaging for structures produced in A to large-scale three-dimensional reconstruction of biological material with high spatial resolution in C.