Delivering cutting-edge technology

WITec and ZEISS have collaborated to provide a fully integrated instrument, featuring a standard, unmodified vacuum chamber and scanning electron microscope (SEM) column along with a complete confocal Raman microscope and spectrometer

Combination of WITec Raman microscope and ZEISS Sigma 300 SEM

WITec’s solution for correlative Raman-SEM imaging is now available for ZEISS Sigma 300, a field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM). With the jointly developed system, WITec and ZEISS have provided a fully-integrated instrument available as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) product through ZEISS. It expands the range of choices available to the researcher and incorporates generations of experience in Raman spectroscopic imaging and advanced structural analysis.

RISE (Raman imaging and scanning electron microscopy) seamlessly combines Raman imaging and SEM to offer a distinct advantage when investigating samples, improving ease of use and accelerating experimental workflow.

ZEISS Sigma 300 provides exceptional resolution, contrast and brightness at a price point accessible to most laboratories. With its Gemini electron optics, including an Inlens secondary electron detector tailored for high resolution surface sensitive imaging, the instrument is inherently flexible and precise. FE-SEMs enable structural characterisation of particles, surfaces and nano structures and the ZEISS Sigma series 4 step automated workflow allows for increased productivity.

Dr Michael Rauscher, Head of Business Sector Materials Sciences at ZEISS Microscopy, said: “Comprehensive characterisation is essential throughout many scientific fields such as battery research, geology and life sciences. The integration of RISE microscopy in our correlative portfolio aims at delivering cutting edge technology to these and many other areas of research. We are very happy that with WITec we have a partner sharing our ambition to drive scientific advancement.”

WITec’s modular Raman technology allows 3D chemical characterisation by combining a high resolution confocal microscope with a high throughput Raman spectrometer. Raman imaging, pioneered by WITec, is a label free and non destructive technique capable of identifying and imaging the molecular composition of a sample, making it an ideal complement to SEM.

Dr Olaf Hollricher, Co-founder and Director of R&D at WITec, said: “Our Raman technology can visualise the distribution of chemical species within a sample and do it quickly. Combine that with the structural resolution of SEM and you get a properly comprehensive understanding of a sample. It is a powerful instrument that is intuitive as well.”

Research grade optical microscope capability is integral to every WITec microscope and also helps researchers survey samples and quickly locate areas of interest.

Both the objective and sample stage required for Raman microscopy are placed within the SEM’s vacuum chamber and can therefore remain under vacuum for all measurements; the sample is simply transferred between the Raman and SEM measuring positions using the stage of ZEISS Sigma 300.

The configuration allows the Raman microscope to be attached through a standard port of the SEM. The correlation of data and control of Raman measurements are carried out through WITec’s Suite FIVE software, which features a new operating concept with an intuitive interface, automated components and sophisticated software and data analysis routines.

Dr Philippe Ayasse, Project Manager for RISE microscopy at WITec, said: "RISE really fulfils the promise of correlative microscopy. It gives the user the strengths of Raman and SEM without compromise, all consolidated in one easy to use instrument.”

All the functions of the respective stand-alone SEM and Raman systems are preserved when combined. Switching between measurement modes is accomplished quickly and easily through the software, which also facilitates the transformation of Raman spectroscopic data into an image, which can then be overlaid onto the SEM image to produce a RISE image. This correlative approach can greatly benefit researchers in nanotechnology, life sciences, geosciences, pharmaceutics, materials research and many other fields of application.

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