Tempe, LEEM Capital Of The World, Site Of International Workshop

April 02, 1998

Arizona is famous for its saguaros, its orange trees, its sunny weather and its unparalleled views of ... individual atoms.

The public knows all about Arizona's golf courses and desert climate, but is generally unaware that the state is familiar to scientists all over the world for being one of the great centers in the field of microscopy, thanks to world-class facilities at Arizona State University. ASU scientists have at their disposal a wide variety of advanced methods, including electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, and scanning tunneling microscopy. ASU is, in fact, one of the first institutions in the world where researchers achieved the visualization of individual atoms.

One of these methods, Low Energy Electron Microscopy (LEEM), is a particular ASU research strength -- ASU was the first American university to have a LEEM instrument, and when LEEM inventor Ernst Bauer joined the ASU physics faculty in 1996, he brought two instruments with him, making ASU literally the world center of LEEM.

From April 7 through 9, ASU is hosting the first International Workshop on Low Energy Electron Microscopy. About 40 scientists from around the world are expected to attend, including all of the world's researchers in the method.

The LEEM records images of surface atoms by illuminating them with very low energy electrons -- between 0 and 100eV (as opposed to 200 to 400 kV for High Resolution Electron Microscopes), hence the term "low-energy." A special feature of the LEEM is the capability to alternatively image the low-energy electron diffraction pattern of a surface or use some of the diffracted electrons to form an image of the surface with a lateral resolution as low as 10 nm and atomic depth resolution.

Unlike other surface imaging techniques which usually require some form of scanning, the LEEM uses a static electron beam which lends itself naturally to real-time imaging with an on-line video system. The LEEM is therefore ideally suitable for observation of dynamic processes on the surface, such as phase transitions, epitaxial growth, chemisorption, desorption, and sublimation. ASU's instruments are commonly used for the study of gallium nitride films (possible light sources of the future) and for the study of magnetic layers (important in developing magnetic data storage devices).

At the workshop, researchers will review the present state of LEEM research, introduce newcomers into the field and discuss plans for the future. Participants will include scientists from the U.S., Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Source: Ernst Bauer, 602-965-2993

Arizona State University

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