NanoMAX: seeing the nanostructures growing atom by atom
The NanoMAX Project is one of the three poles of TEMPOS, which is one of the winners of the national bidding process EquipEx 2010. NanoMAX is an ultra-high resolution transmission electron microscope (TEM) equipped with matter sources that feed the specimen in situ.
The great originality of NanoMAX is to bring matter to the sample atom by atom. This achievement, which is worldwide unique, is obtained thanks to two kinds of matter sources, adapted onto the specimen chamber:
These specificities are both unique.
NanoMAX also allows one to perform in situ standard CVD and liquid precursor CVD.
The aim of NanoMAX is to observe and characterise in situ and in real time, on an atomic scale, the growth of nanocrystals such as semiconductor nanowires and carbon nanotubes. The goal is to understand intimately, at the atomic scale, the mechanisms that govern the growth of nano-objects. This understanding is essential for mastering the fabrication of the nano-objects by monitoring their geometry, their crystalline structure, their chemical composition. Mastering their growth will allow in turn mastering their electronic or optical properties.
The studies, in which NanoMAX is used, have applications in novel functional nano-objects that will be used in macro-devices (field-effect cathodes for miniaturised X-ray sources or photovoltaic solar cells integrating nanomaterials for instance) or else in nano-devices such as chemical or biological sensors, nano-transistors or nano-lasers.
The microscope is equipped with a field emission gun and a corrector of the spherical aberration of the objective lens (image corrector). It is a prototype, conceived by the partners in the project in collaboration with the Thermo Fisher (formerly FEI) Company, based on a Titan 60-300 ETEM.
The matter sources are original equipment developed by the partners.
NanoMAX is located in the CIMEX (Centre interdisciplinaire de microscopie électronique) at École polytechnique, it is supported by CNRS, École polytechnique and Université Paris-Sud. NanoMAX also has a partnership with CEA. The laboratories operating NanoMAX are the LPICM (CNRS-École polytechnique) and the C2N (Centre de nanosciences et de nanotechnologies, CNRS-Université Paris-Sud).