Introducing Lightning Arctic: Our latest In Situ TEM Cooling, Biasing & Heating solution

Introducing Lightning Arctic: Our latest In Situ TEM Cooling, Biasing & Heating solution

An interview with DENSsolutions Senior Product Manager Dr. Gin Pivak about our latest addition to the Lightning product family: Lightning Arctic.

DENSsolutions introduces its latest product: Lightning Arctic – an innovative in situ solution that can perform cooling, biasing and heating all in one system. In this article, we interview our Senior Product Manager Dr. Gin Pivak to learn all about Lightning Arctic, including its unique capabilities and wide application space.

1) What are the main application fields that will benefit from Lightning Arctic?

“There are numerous applications where Lightning Arctic can play an important role. The ability to cool a sample and apply electrical stimuli enables researchers to study low-temperature physics, reaching temperatures as low as 100 Kelvin. It can be utilized to investigate magnetic materials and nanostructures, superconductors, topological insulators, ferroelectrics and more. Additionally, the application of Lightning Arctic can be expanded to include beam-sensitive materials such as Li-ion batteries, organic superconductors and perovskite-based solar cells, where the cooling capability can prolong the material’s lifespan under the electron beam. Furthermore, the ability to perform electro and/or thermal experiments at high temperatures allows the Lightning Arctic system to be used in the fields of nanomaterials sintering and growth, metals and alloys, low-dimensional materials, resistive switching, phase-change materials, solid oxide fuel cells, piezoelectrics, solid-state batteries and so on.”

2) Has the system already been installed?

“Yes, the system has been installed at the Faculty of Engineering, Department of Materials at Imperial College London (ICL) in the UK. The main user of the Lightning Arctic system at ICL is Dr. Shelly Conroy, who is exploiting various ferroelectric and quantum materials at low temperatures and at atomic resolution.”

3) What are the main benefits of Lightning Arctic for users?

“Lightning Arctic brings forth numerous advantages for your in situ experiments:

1) Perform in situ cooling and heating experiments: A cooling rod inside the Lightning Arctic holder can transfer the ‘cold’ towards the tip of the holder where the MEMS-based Nano-Chip holding the sample is located. Once this cooling rod is connected to a detachable metallic cooling braid which is immersed in an external dewar filled with liquid nitrogen, the sample can be cooled inside the TEM down to liquid nitrogen temperatures. Aside from cooling, the Lightning Arctic holder also enables in situ heating experiments, where the temperature can reach 800 °C and even 1300 °C depending on the chip used.

2) Experience atomic imaging stability: The Lightning Arctic holder was uniquely designed to host a number of additional temperature controllers that work to stabilize the sample drift during cooling. One controller ensures the temperature equilibrium with the TEM while the other stabilizes the cold influx towards the sample. The usage of the external dewar that helps to minimize the liquid nitrogen bubbling ensures that atomic imaging with low sample drift can be achieved.

3) Continuous temperature control: Our state-of-the-art Heating and Biasing Nano-Chips enable the local manipulation of the temperature of the sample while not disturbing the cooling process of the holder. This means that you can achieve the fast setting of any user-defined temperature and the minimization of the image and focus shift when changing the temperature setpoint, all while ensuring atomic-scale imaging quality.

4) Achieve your required sample orientation: The double tilt Lightning Arctic holder allows tilting the sample in both alpha and beta directions of 10 – 25 degrees to find the required zone axis of the sample.

5) Perform in situ biasing experiments while cooling/heating: The Heating and Biasing Nano-Chips compatible with the Lightning Arctic holder contain biasing electrodes that can be used to apply and measure electrical signals either during cooling or during heating. Of course, the preparation of FIB lamellas on the Nano-Chips for electrical experiments is very crucial. There are already proven methods and tools developed for the Lightning system (like the DENSsolutions FIB stub) that can be used to prepare top-quality, short-circuit-free FIB lamellas on the Heating and Biasing chips for the Lightning Arctic system.

6) Wide compatibility of the sample carriers: Lightning Arctic has a similar Nano-Chip compatibility to the Lighting system, and works with Wildfire heating Nano-Chips and Lightning heating and biasing Nano-Chips. Moreover, the Lightning Arctic holder is also compatible with 3mm and lift-out TEM grids that can be used to study beam-sensitive materials at cryo-conditions without the need of using the Nano-Chips. This greatly expands the range of samples that the new in situ solution can work with.”


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DENSsolutions successfully installs both a Stream and Climate system at Cardiff University

DENSsolutions successfully installs both a Stream and Climate system at Cardiff University

From left to right: Oliver Mchugh and Dr. Thomas Slater from Cardiff University, Dr. Lars van der Wal and Alex Rozene from DENSsolutions

We are excited to announce that DENSsolutions has installed both a Stream and Climate system at the renowned Cardiff University in Wales, the United Kingdom. In this article, we interview Dr. Thomas Slater, Lecturer at Cardiff University, to learn more about the Cardiff Catalysis Institute Electron Microscope Facility, the team’s research direction and the pivotal role our Stream and Climate systems will play in advancing their research initiatives.

Can you tell me about the Cardiff Catalysis Institute Electron Microscope Facility?

“The Cardiff Catalysis Institute Electron Microscope Facility (CCI-EMF) is based at Cardiff University, one of Britain’s leading research Universities. The CCI-EMF is a new, world-class electron microscopy facility located in the University’s Translational Research Hub on its Innovation Campus. It houses an array of state-of-the-art imaging and analytical instruments designed around the study of heterogeneous catalysts and nano materials. The mission of the facility is to provide researchers in academia and industry with cutting-edge microscopy equipment, creating a Welsh hub for electron microscopy expertise and skills development.

In October 2022, we installed a 200 kV Thermo Fisher Scientific Cold-FEG Spectra 200. This aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (AC-STEM) is the first of its type in Wales. It is optimised for the study and analysis of heterogeneous catalysts and nanoparticles and is fitted with the Super-X EDS detector, Panther STEM detection system for HAADF/BF and iDPC imaging, Gatan’s Continuum ER EELS and Quantum Detectors Merlin detector. The facility also hosts a JEM-2100 LaB transmission electron microscope with a high-resolution Gatan digital camera and Oxford X-max EDS detector and a Tescan MAIA-3 field emission gun scanning electron microscope (FEG-SEM), which enables secondary electron (SE), in-beam SE, low-kV backscattered electron (BSE), in-beam BSE and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) imaging capabilities.”

What type of applications are the users at CCI-EMF interested in using the Stream and Climate systems for?

“The Stream In Situ TEM Liquid + Biasing or Heating system will enable us to study liquid-phase reactions and follow the mechanisms of nanoparticle synthesis in solution. Nanoparticle growth and crystallization on the surface of metal oxide supports is of particular interest to us, along with catalyst stability in solution and the mechanisms of deactivation through leaching and particle migration.

The Climate In Situ TEM Gas + Heating system will allow the CCI researchers to conduct operando STEM, TEM and chemical imaging of heterogeneous catalysts under reaction conditions. We aim to develop an improved understanding of structure-activity relationships, oxidation and reduction processes, catalysts synthesis, catalyst stability and deactivation mechanisms. Crucially, we will be able to study changes in the structure and chemistry as a function of temperature, pressure and composition, improving our understanding of catalysed processes at or near real reaction conditions.”

What particular features of the DENSsolutions systems stood out to you?

“For us it was critical to have excellent thermal stability, a uniform heated zone and fast gas mixing at the cell to ensure reproducibility and correlation with our larger scale benchtop micro- reactors. Chemical compatibility with a wide range of reaction gases and catalyst materials was also important as we support a vast number of researchers across multiple research projects with very different experimental requirements.”

Could you tell us a bit more about the funding granted to acquire the systems?

“The system was purchased with European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) through the Welsh European Funding office (WEFO) and part-funded by The Wolfson Foundation. The funding enabled the CCI to establish its own EM facility through the purchase of advanced microscopes and equipment such as the DENSsolutions Stream and Climate systems. This capability enhances and strengthens the already outstanding catalyst research facilities of the CCI and our aim is to use this new capability to support the research needs of the University, our existing partners, local industry as well as develop new research strands.”

In your experience so far, how have you found working with Stream and Climate?

“The installation went very smoothly and was completed in a couple of weeks, including the 3 days of training. The hardware is robust, and the chip assembly relatively intuitive. We are able to have chips prepared, assembled, leak-checked and in the microscope within the space of a couple of hours which leaves the rest of the days free for experiments. The parameter control is made easy through the Impulse software workflow which guides you from start to finish. In fact, we were running experiments ourselves and generating data within a week of installation.”

Dr. Tom Slater
Lecturer |  Electron Microscopy of Catalytic Materials, Cardiff University

Dr. Tom Slater received his Ph.D. in Nanoscience from the University of Manchester, where he also did postdoctoral work in the Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility. He then joined the electron Physical Sciences Imaging Centre (ePSIC) as an electron microscopy scientist. He was appointed as a Lecturer in Electron Microscopy of Catalytic Materials at Cardiff University in 2022, where his research focuses on imaging of heterogeneous catalysts.

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DENSsolutions successfully installs another Climate system in Japan, at JFCC

DENSsolutions successfully installs another Climate system in Japan, at JFCC

Top row – from left to right: Mr. Suzuki (Nano Tech Solutions), Mr. Anada (JFCC), Dr. Lars van der Wal (DENSsolutions) and Mr. Hirai (JEOL). Bottom row – from left to right: Mr. Fukunaga (JEOL), Mr. Jinbo (JEOL) and Mr. Hisada (JEOL).

We are proud to announce that DENSsolutions has installed another Climate system in Japan, at the Japan Fine Ceramics Center, located in Nagoya, a highly populated Japanese port city. In this article, we interview Dr. Satoshi Anada, Senior Researcher at the Nanostructures Research Lab in JFCC, to learn more about their microscopy facility, its research direction, as well as how our Climate system is advancing their research.

Can you tell me about Japan Fine Ceramics Center and its research and development initiatives?

Japan Fine Ceramics Center (JFCC) was established back in 1985, with the goal of improving the quality of fine ceramics mainly through integrated testing and evaluation systems. JFCC has numerous business activities, one of which is the research and development (R&D) of materials, manufacturing technology and evaluation technology. Our R&D initiatives are focused on obtaining technological solutions to problems related to the environment, energy and safety. We have two main laboratories: 1) the Materials R&D Lab and 2) the Nanostructures Research Lab. The Materials R&D Lab focuses on the development of highly functional and novel materials (mainly ceramics) by improved process control, whereas the Nanostructures Research Lab focuses on the development and enhancement of state-of-the-art electron microscopy and related technologies. At the Nanostructures Research Lab, we have a high-end electron microscope – the JEOL JEM-ARM300F2 Grand ARM. This microscope enables us to observe samples at ultra-high spatial resolution with highly sensitive analysis over a wide range of accelerating voltages.”

What type of applications are the users at the Nanostructures Research Lab interested in using the Climate G+ system for?

“Users at the Nanostructures Research Lab are interested in applying the DENSsolutions Climate system to record operando TEM observations of battery and catalyst materials. We aim to understand where and how reactions take place, and which conditions enhance the performance of those materials. Moreover, we are interested in the electrochemical oxidation of materials in reaction with oxidants such as oxygen and hydrogen.”

What particular features of the DENSsolutions Climate G+ system attracted you to the system? 

“In order to understand factors and mechanisms related to the performance of battery and catalyst materials, it is important to observe their reactions in the actual environments in which they are used. The Climate system has the ability to flexibly and rapidly adjust gas composition, temperature, flow and pressure, which enables us to observe our battery and catalyst materials under various experimental conditions. This is capability is particularly what attracted us to the solution.”

In your experience so far, how have you found working with the Climate G+ system?

“The preliminary processes including the assembly of the Climate Nano-Reactor and leak testing are quite straightforward, assisted by the well-established Climate manual and software. With the Climate system, we have been able to perform numerous experiments without running into any leakage issues. Moreover, we are particularly impressed with the stability of the system even at extremely high temperatures.”

Dr. Satoshi Anada
Senior Researcher | Japan Fine Ceramics Center

Dr. Satoshi Anada received his Ph.D. degree in Engineering, Material Science, from Osaka University. Previously, he was working as a Specially Appointed Assistant Professor in the Research Center for Ultra-High Voltage Electron Microscopy at Osaka University. Currently, Dr. Anada is working as a Senior Researcher in the Japan Fine Ceramics Center (JFCC). His research was focused on the electromagnetic analysis of functional materials and devices using transmission electron microscopy, and now particularly on different microscopic measurement informatics.

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Meet Dr. Evgeniya Pechnikova, our new Senior Applications Development Scientist

Meet Dr. Evgeniya Pechnikova, our new Senior Applications Development Scientist

We are happy to announce that DENSsolutions has expanded the team with a wonderful new colleague – Dr. Evgeniya Pechnikova.

In the pursuit to grow our applications development for the DENSsolutions Stream system and other future product lines, we recently welcomed Dr. Evgeniya Pechnikova to the team – our new Senior Applications Development Scientist. Evgeniya has years of experience and high-level technical expertise in electron microscopy (EM), including cryogenic-EM, tomography and data processing techniques. Her role at DENSsolutions will be focused on developing novel in situ liquid EM applications that demonstrate the power of our solutions. She will also be working on creating new techniques and methodologies that will support the research of our customers, as well as perfecting our demonstration and installation protocols. We are thrilled to have Evgeniya join the DENSsolutions family and look forward to the valuable contributions she will make to the team on both a personal and professional level. In this article, we have asked Evgeniya to introduce herself so you can learn more about her extensive experience and her new role at DENSsolutions.

Meet Dr. Evgeniya Pechnikova

“My name is Evgeniya Pechnikova, and I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. I have a lot of love for adventure and history, and enjoy travelling around the world to explore ruins of ancient civilizations. I’m also an avid fan of photography, Latin social dances like salsa and tango, as well as playing badminton and a game known as ‘werewolves’!

I have always been drawn to different spheres of science. That is why for my higher education, I decided to enrol in Lomonosov Moscow State University‘s biological faculty. As they had a very broad program there, I had the opportunity to learn about a wide range of subjects, starting with mathematics and physics and ending up with biochemistry, plant physiology and even drawing.

During my master’s degree, I was introduced to the world of electron microscopy and was completely fascinated by its combination of science and photography – two topics that have always been a passion of mine. To add another dimension to my work, I found a PhD position in the field of cryo-EM and 3D reconstruction, working on investigating the structure and function of capsids of a helical plant virus. My PhD project was a result of a collaboration between Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of Crystallography in Moscow and Birkbeck, University of London. During this PhD, I worked in close collaboration with structural biologists that were highly experienced in cryo-EM and image processing before the new detector technology popularised the technique to a broader base of scientists. This was an incredibly enriching experience and certainly shaped my career path moving forward.

After completing my PhD, I joined Thermo Fisher Scientific in the Netherlands where I worked as an Applications Scientist in the Eindhoven NanoPort facility – a state-of-the-art electron microscopy facility that provides users with hands-on experience with numerous analytical techniques. During this role, I was responsible for providing training and demonstrations for life science TEM equipment. I was also in frequent collaboration with the R&D department to translate customer needs into applications development, and to test new hardware and software tools. As a result of this work, I was able to play a role in accelerating the new-resolution revolution that has bloomed in cryo-EM over the past couple years. Importantly, this role made me realize that trying new tools to solve long-standing problems is what excites me most. 

Now, as a Senior Applications Development Scientist at DENSsolutions, I have the unique opportunity to combine and explore two cutting-edge technologies, MEMS and cryo-EM. My top priority is to boost applications development and create working protocols that showcase the advantages of DENSsolutions’ MEMS technology within in situ liquid EM. I look forward to being actively involved in hands-on support during on-site and remote product demonstrations, as well as working with other departments to translate customer needs into workable solutions. I am excited to take on this new challenge and am confident that I will be able to make a meaningful contribution to the company, our customers and science as a whole.”

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Meet our new Vice President of Sales and Business Development, Hans Radhoe

Meet our new Vice President of Sales and Business Development, Hans Radhoe

We are excited to announce the expansion of our team with our new colleague, Hans Radhoe.

Despite being a small company in the canal-ringed city of Delft, DENSsolutions has always been highly ambitious, with its sights set on disruptive growth and innovation. Keeping in line with this, we wanted to expand our team with someone who could lead our business development, with a focus on the discovery of new growth opportunities for the company and making our many visions a reality. We are happy to have found just the right person for this position – Hans Radhoe, our new Vice President of Sales and Business Development. With over 25 years of experience in business and development within fields such as life science and materials science, Hans has an extensive understanding of lead generation, advancing business strategy and the sales cycle process within diverse scientific markets. His role at DENSsolutions will focus on finding avenues of growth for the company and leading numerous aspects of the sales process, from prospecting and go-to-market strategies to customer relationship management. In this article, we have asked Hans to introduce himself so you can learn more about his education, experience and role at DENSsolutions. 

Meet Hans Radhoe

“My name is Hans Radhoe, and I was born in Suriname, a country in South America in the Amazon. At just 17 years old, I left Suriname with the bright intention to study medicine in the Netherlands. I had no knowledge at that time, however, that there was a lottery system in place in the Netherlands for being admitted into any of the medical schools in the country. As it turned out, I was not one of those selected to move forward in the admission process, which forced me to think of an alternative study to pursue.

This chain of events catapulted the start of my education in the field of biotechnology, which I studied at the Polytechnical Faculty in Delft. Studying biotechnology felt like an excellent choice for me since it not only piqued my interest, but was also a hot topic in the 80s and beyond. After finishing my Bachelor studies, my fascination with the environment led me to pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Management at Open University in Heerlen, a small city in the southeast of the Netherlands bordering Germany.

After graduating, I took on a position for a couple years with the task of setting up a mycoplasma and virology lab in accordance with CGMP guidelines. In this role, I managed to upscale Mycoplasma testing services for the pharmaceutical industry. I then worked at Centocor in Leiden for a short while, which is a biotech subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. During this role, I was responsible for the production of biologic drugs involving monoclonal antibody technology, such as Remicade – a drug used to treat a number of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. It was particularly during this role that I gained hands-on experience in cell and gene therapy. 

Shortly after, I made the switch from lab to business because I became more and more passionate about perceiving and fulfilling the commercial needs of others. During my business jobs, I realized how imperative it is to be able to listen intently and actively when in communication with customers. This encouraged me to take a Master’s in Counselling and Coaching, which is part of the Psychology study at the Radboud University Nijmegen. Although the intention of pursuing this Master’s was to use the knowledge learnt to enhance my communication with clients, I found myself applying it in the volunteer work that I did next to my job at the time. This volunteer work involved coaching cancer patients at the Nederlandse Federatie van Kankerpatiëntenorganisaties, which I happened to stumble upon when seeing an advertisement from the organisation on TV. 

Further down the line in my career, after many enriching vocational experiences, I started working as the Sales Director at Amsterdam Scientific Instruments (ASI) – a spin-off company from Nikhef, which is a Dutch research institute for particle physics. ASI specializes in the design and manufacturing of advanced detector solutions for all kinds of particles, such as electrons. Indeed, it was particularly during this position that I stepped into the world of electron microscopy, which I found to be rather fascinating.

This then brings me to today, where I now have the role of Vice President of Sales and Business Development at DENSsolutions, a company that develops advanced electron microscopy solutions. I have actually been following DENSsolutions for a long time since a friend of mine worked here, and I have witnessed for myself the rapid innovation of the company in the past few years. Generally, in the span of my career, I have been active in numerous scientific markets all over the world and in many different positions, including account management, sales and business development. In my new role, I will be in charge of increasing the company’s presence in existing markets, as well as forming strategic partnerships that open up entirely new ones. I look forward to applying my extensive knowledge gained over the past two decades into this new role, and being part of a fantastic team so focused on continuous cooperation and innovation.”

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DENSsolutions has installed yet another Climate system in the U.S. at Alfred University

DENSsolutions has installed yet another Climate system in the U.S. at Alfred University

We are proud to announce that DENSsolutions has installed another Climate system in the United States, at Alfred University, which is located in the west of New York State. In this article, we interview Dr. Kun Wang, Assistant Professor at the Inamori School of Engineering in Alfred University, to learn more about their microscopy facility, its research direction, as well as how our Climate system is advancing their research.

Can you tell me more about the microscopy facility at Alfred University?

Alfred University has numerous research facilities that boast a wide range of high-tech equipment. There are dedicated facilities for materials characterization, mechanical and physical testing, biological evaluation of materials, spectroscopy, materials synthesis and processing as well as imaging and microscopy. The Imaging and Microscopy facility is equipped with a scanning electron microscope, an atomic force microscope and a fluorescent optical microscope, among many other tools. Just last summer, we had our new transmission electron microscope installed, the TFS Talos F200X. This microscope is equipped with a super X-ray detector which enables us to perform high resolution chemical analyses in a highly efficient manner.”

What type of applications are the users at Alfred using the Climate system for?

“Users of the facility are interested in a couple of applications, now enabled via the use of our newly acquired DENSsolutions Climate system. Via Climate, we would like to perform in situ oxidation and reduction experiments on batteries and catalyst materials. Moreover, we are interested in performing in situ high-temperature oxidation experiments for aerospace materials and nuclear matter in order to better understand these materials and their behavior under varying temperature conditions. We are also interested in performing energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) in those experiments to get a better idea of the elemental composition of a given sample.”

What particular features of the DENSsolutions Climate solution attracted you to the system?

“Aside from the ability of the system to combine gas and heating functions, it was particularly important for me to use an in situ system that could handle high temperatures. Specifically, I was looking for a system that could handle high temperatures while still maintaining the stability of the holder. This is particularly what attracted me most to the Climate system.”

Can you tell me about the grant that was won to acquire the system?

“The grant was actually awarded several years ago, from an institute called the New York State’s Empire State Development, which provides numerous services and resources for education, healthcare, military and other fields.”

DENSsolutions Prof. Jungwon Park

Dr. Kun Wang
Assistant Proffessor | Inamori School of Engineering, Alfred University

Dr. Kun Wang received his Ph.D. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). He used to work as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Nuclear Materials Science and Technology group of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Currently, he is working as an Assistant Professor at the Inamori School of Engineering, Alfred University. His research focuses on study of structural materials under extreme environmental conditions.

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