Opportunity for SNI members – Electron Diffraction Experience Center inaugurated in BaselPast Events, SNI INSIght June 2022, Success Stories
In 1928, a groundbreaking experiment by Devisson and Germer showed that electrons are diffracted like waves, thereby confirming the theory of quantum mechanics. Almost 100 years later, the young start-up ELDICO Scientific has inaugurated the Electron Diffraction Experience Center in Basel, where this phenomenon can be used to determine 3D structures.
On 30 March, an opening ceremony was held to inaugurate the Electron Diffraction Experience Center at Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area. The event provided participants including international experts from science and industry with an opportunity to discuss how electrons can be used to improve the characterization of crystals.
Crystallographic analyses have traditionally been carried out using X-rays in a technique whereby an X-ray beam strikes a crystal and forms a diffraction pattern on a detector. This pattern can then be used to deduce the structure of the sample. Electron diffraction works according to the same principle, albeit using electrons instead of X-rays.
One key advantage is that it does away with the tedious — and sometimes impossible — process of preparing large crystals. The fact that electrons interact with matter more strongly than X-rays means they can provide unadulterated data even from nanoscopic crystals, thereby delivering a decisive advantage in numerous applications.
Nano Argovia project lays the foundations
For example, the determination of the three-dimensional structure of organic molecules such as proteins or pharmaceutical compounds is another area in which electron-beam diffraction will play an important role in the future. Working with a team within the framework of the Nano Argovia project A3EDPI, Dr. Tim Grüne had shown that this approach was effective and that structural elucidation using electron-beam diffraction was even possible with organic substances.
Based on these findings, ELDICO Scientific has now developed and launched an electron diffractometer. The first instrument (the ELDICO ED-1) is now at the disposal of the Electron Diffraction Experience Center in Basel. As the SNI is the academic partner within the four-way consortium, SNI members now have access to this innovative and promising technology.
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