Khalid Hattar, Sandia National Laboratories, Boise, Idaho
In situ Ion Irradiation Dynamic TEM
Written by Trevor Clark
Understanding radiation effects at a microstructural level is important on many scales. A microchip in close proximity to a nuclear reactor needs to be very reliable and components on spacecraft also have the need for reliability. Khalid Hattar of Sandia National Laboratories in Boise, Idaho is working with industry to develop setups to allow for radiation sources within a transmission electron microscope (TEM) to dynamically, in real time, view the effects of radiation on the microstructure at the nanometer scale. The radiation is ionic gold particles that are accelerated to high speeds within the machine; this means that the particle–material interactions can occur at very short time scales, on the order of 10–100s of nanoseconds. Hattar and his team have made many optimizations to retain the high spatial resolution, tune the radiation to single particle events, and have a high time resolution. The camera and detectors are optimized for stability and resolution. This set up allows for many in situ TEM experiments that will offer much needed insight into a variety of nanoscale processes.