Microscopy in material science
The development of new materials, especially nano materials for various applications, is now a key sector in research and development beyond the academic field for product innovation and the process industry. With its increase in resolution to the nanometer and sub-nanometer scale, electron microscopy provides a unique technique, able to relate structural characteristics to physical or chemical properties. It is being applied to a wide variety of materials such as semiconductors, superconductors, alloys, polymers catalysts and small particles, surface layers, multilayers and composite materials. Structural knowledge can be obtained by high resolution electron microscopy improved by Focus Ion Beam (FIB) capabilities. Chemical information at the nanometer range is derived by the analysis of the emitted X-rays (EDX).
Microscopy in biomedical science and pharmaceutics
Electron microscopy has been, historically, a great support tool in the biomedical field for quality control and for diagnosis confirmation in histopathology. In recent years it has also become a vital tool in the pharmaceutical field. In particular for the development of Drug Delivery, for target characterization, to validate the effect of the drug on cells and tissues, to assess the stability and the morphology of compounds and to evaluate the biocompatibility of new materials for orthopaedic implants. Rapid automatic acquisition is provided by the Slide-scanner that allows for scanning of the entire surface of slides (up to 120) and their subsequent analysis, editing, and archiving. As a service, it is specifically designed for hospitals, reference labs and research labs.
Reability and diagnostic of microeletronic devices
The Laboratory provides analytical services and consultancy in the field of advanced failure analysis, reliability and diagnostics of electronic devices. In particular, it provides support to diagnose failure mechanisms and for the failure analysis of degraded devices that failed in the field or during accelerated lifetime tests. The laboratory performs cross-section and EDX analysis (spectrums and maps) so it can support, for instance,the development of advanced components such as solar cells. The laboratory also offers in-situ TEM lamella preparation.
In the environmental sector the Microscopy Laboratory has begun to carry out experimental projects in the field of bioremediation (systems for environmental restoral) - projects funded by European and by the Sardinian Region grants. These projects aim to demonstrate the ability to analyze samples from polluted sites, to search for heavy metals, to examine the alteration of microfossils due to pollution, and the assessment of the concentrations of noble metals for their recovery from Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment.