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Competence and Device Centre that acts as a beacon

Transmissionselektronenmikroskop / Foto: EAM

The EAM has purchased a Titan3 80-300, one of the highest performing transmission electron microscopes on the market. The device makes it possible to display the atomic structure of Particles and materials with astonishing precision, and even to
determine the three-dimensional construction and chemical composition in dimensions of thousandths of millionths. (Photo: EAM)

CENEM is successful in the DFG funding programme “Core Facilities”

Research scientists from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have successfully put forward a convincing concept in a competition for funding from the DFG (German Research Council). They will now receive €450,000 over a period of three years from the funding programme “Device Centres – Core Facilities” for “CENEM – nano-characterisation with electrons, X-ray and scanning probes”. The DFG provides support for the “establishment and professionalisation of device centres and networks of national or international significance”. With this financial support it is hoped that the expert knowledge at the Erlangen “Centre for Nanoanalysis and Electron Microscopy” (CENEM) and its cutting-edge devices for the characterising of materials, including atomic structure, will be used more broadly and more intensively.

Prof. Dr. Erdmann Spiecker (professor for Electron Microscopy) – who filed the application –, Prof. Dr. Mathias Göken (Department for General Material Properties) and Prof. Dr. Tobias Unruh (professor for Nano-material Charcterisation/Scattering Techniques) had to fight off stiff competition. However, in the end, eleven applications made it through the multi-round assessment process; according to the DFG, 57 complete applications were received after 120 preliminary enquiries. In the field of material research and structural physics, only two centres are to receive funding. In addition to Erlangen’s CENEM, the second centre to receive this funding is the renowned Ernst-Ruska Centre in Jülich/Aachen.

CENEM was founded in the framework of the Engineering of Advanced Materials Cluster of Excellence (EAM) in order to bring together cooperative research work and complementary high-resolution microscopic and analytical procedures within the cluster. This project, unique in Germany, focuses on targeted methods, from which significant synergies were drawn. By combining them, new material characterisation possibilities were established. This considerably enriched the profile of the university discipline in “materials and processes”.

Down to the smallest detail
The centre is characterised by its excellent facilities and highly-trained experts. Its many major pieces of equipment include a cutting-edge transmission electron microscope called Titan3 80-300, which can analyse the structure and chemical composition of materials down to the atomic level at high resolution. The large chamber scanning electron microscope on site is one of a kind in the world. This device can non-destructively analyse the microstructure of large components, such as turbine blades and crankshafts in detail. Consequently, specific mechanical stresses can be assessed. A high performance system that can detect the slightest changes in materials at the nano scale using highly sensitive X-rays is still under construction (small angle X-ray system).

CENEM’s specialists are experts in areas that range from electron microscopy to X-ray and neutron scattering to scanning probe microscopy and nanomechanics. “Cooperation between such complementary areas of expertise is becoming ever more important in finding answers to modern, material science questions in an increasingly interdisciplinary environment”, says Prof. Erdmann Spiecker, who led the application. “Of course, we are very happy with this success. It shows that we are on the right path with our interdisciplinary concept.”

The researchers want to use the funding to put in place efficient, sustainable structures for the joint and external use of CENEM’s resources, to improve support for users and cooperation partners from the worlds of science and industry, and to spread the word about the numerous possibilities offered by nano-characterisation through regular workshops and other events. “As a competence and device centre, CENEM can become a point of contact for material and nano-characterisation issues far beyond the confines of the university, and thus become recognised as a beacon in Northern Bavaria”, says Prof. Spiecker.

You can read the DFG press release at:

More information for the media:

Prof. Erdmann Spiecker
Tel.: 09131/85-28603

uni | media service | news No. 47/2012 on 13.3.2012

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