Beyond Nano CT

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Presentation VIDEO

The Beyond-Nano microscopy lab in Catania is the largest center for Electron Microscopy in Italy. The Beyond-Nano center of Catania is hosted at IMM-CNR laboratory one of the largest research center of the Italian National Research Council which cover a wide range of scientific activities aimed at manufacturing, understanding, modeling, and manipulating matter from the micrometer range down to the atomic level. The project Beyond-Nano is focused on the creation of a research infrastructure involving the best skills of southern Italy CNR structures in the field of advanced materials and nanotechnology. The fields of application will be focused on the investigation of multi-functional materials for applications in the followings strategic areas: energetic efficiency, photovoltaic, safety and health, nanoelectronics. The Beyond-Nano Catania, focuses on the characterization of nanomaterials, including their structural, electronic, and chemical properties at the nanometer scale, making use of the expertise in advanced TEM techniques. The staff expertise covers the fields of advanced TEM methods like: Electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), in-situ TEM methods, image processing and simulation, soft matter and electron tomography.


Objectives and methods

The Beyondnano Catania aims to observe and study the materials with the aid of three powerful transmission electron microscopes.
The ARM200F is only the last one and promises to get analysis with a resolution so high to go beyond the Angstrom even at low energy.

This will allow the study of soft material such as graphene and polymers. Thanks to powerful analytical tools the beyond nano team will be able to obtain simultaneously chemical and structural information at atomic scale, and therefore understand how atoms are bonded to one another.

This will allow to carry out a wide range of super-fast devices and at low energy consumption, systems for storing huge amounts of information, tools for the identification of biological markers in very small quantities of fluids.


Graphene is a planar one-atom-thick layer of sp2-bonded carbon atoms with remarkable electronic transport properties that make it a potential candidate for future electronic applications. In the last years significant advances have been achieved in the growth of laterally uniform graphene films over large areas, either by thermal decomposition of hexagonal SiC3 or by chemical vapor deposition on catalytic metals. However, graphene presents specific structural and electronic properties depending on the growth substrate and mechanism, which consequently have an impact on its macroscopic electrical behavior.

To get a deeper understanding of this material a Cs corrected STEM operated at low energy is needed. The combination of the very high spatial resolution with the ability to work at an operating energy that is below the knock-on threshold for carbons is essential for his study. Indeed, under these experimental conditions, atoms in the structure can be clearly separated in the images, while electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) acquisitions are possible without damaging the EG structure.