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Denmark-Kgs. Lyngby: Transmission electron microscope
Voluntary ex ante transparency notice
Section I: Contracting authority/entity
Section II: Object
The Buying of a First-of-its-Kind Next-generation Environmental Transmission Electron Microscope (NG-ETEM) from Thermo Fisher Scientific
Center for Visualizing Catalytic Processes (VISION), funded by DNRF (Danish National Research Foundation) and Technical University of Denmark (DTU), wants to buy a first-of-its-kind next-generation environmental transmission electron microscope (NG-ETEM) from Thermo Fisher Scientific. The NG-ETEM will be located at DTU and paid jointly by DNRF and DTU. To reach its ambitious research goal of relating the atomic structure, dynamics and function of single nanoparticles during catalysis, VISION needs the NG-ETEM that uniquely combines
1) An image resolution in the 50 pm range for retrieving the 3D atomic structure of nano-scale objects;
2) Milli- to tens of seconds time-resolution for tracking progression of catalysis;
3) Re-active gas environments to capture the dynamic state of nanoparticles at atomic-resolution;
4) Spatiotemporal-resolved spectroscopy of nanostructures and catalysis; and
5) Detection sensitivity to suppress of beam-induced sample alterations.
The NG-ETEM will for the first time ever combine the following and separately demonstrated technologies:
— Single-atom sensitive imaging: aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron micro-scope (TEM) images offers the highest information level for the fewest scattered electrons. Combining the acquisition of low-doses, single-projections and focal series of TEM images enables reconstruction of the exit wave presenting the most informative fingerprint of 3D nanostructures. Hereby, 3D atomic structures can be rendered from single-atom-sensitive TEM employing electron optics operating at 300 keV with an information limit in the 50 pm range, since it corresponds to a focal spread < 1.0 nm (depth precision) and image spread < 10-15 pm (lateral precision) and is facilitated by axial and off-axial aberration-correction up to 5th order as well as aberration coefficient stabilities and focus linearity of better than 10 % over a minimum of a few minutes time-scale. The TEAM0.5 microscope (LBNL) serves as a reference (Kisielowski et al, Microsc Microanal 14, 454 (2008), Kisielowski et al. Micron 68, 186 (2014), Chen et al, Nature Comm 7:10603 (2016), Kisie-lowski et al, Adv Struct Chem Imag 2:13 (2016);
— Gas reaction environments: Differentially pumped gas cell with a base vacuum < 1*10^-6 mbar to ensure gasses added at a pressure of up to 20 mbar in the sample region have a cleanness limited by their inherent cleanness. With all vacuum pumps running the optical performance should be minimally affected, preferably to within 10 % of any specification and specifically for optical stability. Sample heating of up to at least 900 C is achieved through microfabricated chips for low sample drift (< 50 pm/s) compatible with focal series acquisition;
— Electron dose and dose-rate control: Monochromatized, Nelsionian electron illumination with an energy spread of < 0.1 eV at 300 keV to ensure the targeted 50 pm information limit as well as dose-rate control (0.01 – 10000 e/(Å^2s)) to achieve the weakest sample excitation and matching of the illuminated and detected sample areas to restrict sample illumination (Kisielowski et al, Microsc Microanal 14, 454 (2008), Micron 68, 186 (2014));
— Sensitive electron detection: Most sensitive electron detector capable of delivering high signal-to-noise (> 1-5) TEM images at 1Å resolution and 300 keV at low electron beam currents (< 10-20 e/(Å^2s)) and low electron doses (< 10-20 e/(Å^2)) for the weakest sample excitation. Currently, the most sensitive detectors (direct electron counters) have detection quantum efficiency (DQE) reaching > 50 % at ½ Nyquist and > 80 % at 0 Nyquist for 300 keV electron beams. Such a camera configured with a real-time single electron counting mode is needed with online real-time data processing/acquisition for dose-fractionated imaging, focal series acquisition and drift correction. Time-resolution compatible with catalytic turnover frequencies (0.1 Hz- 1kHz) is key for VISIONs experiments so the highest full sensor readout speed will be requested about 1000 frames/second (10 billion pixels/second);
— Spectro-imaging capability: Focused, scanning probe mode combining bright, dark field and integrated differential phase contrast (iDPC) detection as well as electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) to advance low-electron-dose scanning TEM-EELS measurements of nanostructures and gas compositions at resolutions down to 0.3 nm in space and 0.1 eV in energy (over the widest variable energy window and highest precision).
Section IV: Procedure
VISION wish to acquire the NG-ETEM from Thermo Fisher Scientific (TFS) since it will be the first-of-its-kind that is unavailable in any other known offering and could not be due to the proprietary nature of design and IP protection. The uniqueness of TFSs NG-ETEM is the integration of the following key technologies:
ETEM technology: Over the past more than 20 years, TFS has developed ETEM technology for 4 generations of TEM platforms (CM, Tecnai, Titan, Themis). On the newest Spectra platform, it will be the only dedicated TEM for in situ gaseous experimentation across the widest range of pressures (up to 20 mbar) and gas compositions, at the highest spatial imaging resolutions (~ 50 pm) and without the need for dedicated special holders. Such extensive experiences and capabilities are not currently available to support VISIONs research goals from other manufactures, including JEOL and Hitachi, who reach about 1Å resolution with their ETEM designs.
Gas cleanness: VISION prepares samples and experiments using TFS’s Titan ETEM at Haldor Topsoe A/S that has a world-recognized track record of scientific discoveries and achievements. This type of experiments is notoriously extremely sensitive to sample contamination due to hydrocarbon residuals from the manufacturers’ vacuum technology. To suppress contamination of experiments and avoid unnecessary prolongation of time-demanding experiments calls for the strict requirements to vacuum technology and practice exercised by TFS. The same technology and practice is also the backbone of TFS’s new G5 ETEM True Constant Power Octagon to eliminate contamination level for VISIONs activities.
Backward compatibility to previous ETEM instruments: VISIONs preparative experiments employ samples and holders compatible with TFS sample stages. Direct transfer of these items between the NG-ETEM and complementary microscopes (e.g. DTU Nanolab’s high-end electron microscope portfolio) for post mortem characterization requires a TFS compatible sample stage.
Electron optics enabling resolution in the 50 pm range: The NG-ETEM includes stable, flexible and high-performance electron optics implemented on TFSs newest SPECTRA platform, including TFSs Monochromated “XFEG” source and True Constant Power Octagon. These technologies enable fast switching of electron energies and dose-rates followed by subsequent stabilization of the ultimate resolution within ~ 10 min and ~ seconds during an experiment and thus represent advanced capabilities to structure the electron beam in space and time for suppressing beam-induced sample alterations. Moreover, the SPECTRA platform is associated with an information limit about 50 pm at 300 keV as well as a guaranteed optical lifetime compatible with high-quality focal series acquisitions.
Detection: sensitive electron detectors are needed to suppress electron-beam-stimulated sample alterations. For TEM mode, direct electron detectors (TFS Falcon 4 or Gatan K3) offer market-leading sensitivities and speeds. For scanning TEM mode, TFS’s ‘live’ iDPC imaging which is IP protected with patents US9312098 and EP2866245B1 delivers high-contrast atomic-resolution low-dose (10-70 e-/Å^2) images. This is important for beam sensitive specimens such as nanocrystals, 2D materials, oxides and light element (down to hydrogen) objects as involved in VISIONs research.
Section V: Award of contract/concession
Section VI: Complementary information
The signing of the contract will await the holding of a 10-day standstill period. The standstill period will be calculated from the date of publication of this notice in the Official Journal. As the contracting authority applies the procedure in the Complaints Board for Public Procurement Act § 4, a complaint that the contracting authority is in breach with the Public Procurement Act has entered into a contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union, be lodged with the Board of Appeal; for Tenders within 30 calendar days from the day after the day on which the contracting authority has published one notice in the Official Journal of the European Union that the contracting entity has entered into a contract, provided that: the executive order contains the reasons for the contracting authority's decision to award the contract without prior notice publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union.