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Project Grant


Grant Description
Fast and precise electrostatic beam position control for an atomic-resolution STEM.
Place of Performance
Seattle, Washington 98133-7111 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
Analysis Notes
Amendment Since initial award the total obligations have decreased 50% from $399,430 to $199,715.
Nion Co was awarded Project Grant DESC0023603 worth $199,715 from the Office of Science in February 2023 with work to be completed primarily in Seattle Washington United States. The grant has a duration of 9 months and was awarded through assistance program 81.049 Office of Science Financial Assistance Program. The Project Grant was awarded through grant opportunity FY2023 Phase I Release 1.

SBIR Details

Research Type
SBIR Phase I
Fast and precise electrostatic beam position control for an atomic-resolution STEM
C55-10b-270389Recent developments in electron microscopes, especially improved optics and new detectors have led to new types of experiments in the fields of physics, quantum information, and biology. With all the recent progress, one key system of the microscope, the scanning system, has fallen behind. The proposed development will introduce a fundamentally new type of scanning system that replaces slow electromagnetic scans with faster, more precise, electrostatic scanning. The capabilities of the scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) have expanded tremendously in recent years, to the point that individual atom’s identity and lattice dynamics can now be probed by electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS). These capabilities are enabled and accelerated by technical developments in aberration correction, electron detectors, monochromators, spectrometers, and open-source software. Throughout this renaissance, the scanning system itself – a key component of every STEM - has remained relatively constant. To overcome the current limitations, a fundamentally new approach is required—replacing slow electromagnetic scan coils with electrostatic scanning. Phase I work will consist of proof-of- principle experiments and calculations leading toward the design of a practical, marketable electrostatic scanning system for STEM for building in Phase II. In Phase I, a prototype electrostatic scan system will be designed, built, and tested. The results will inform design decisions for Phase II in each of three key areas: (1) deflector hardware— prototype electrostatic deflector plates will be mounted on the column to assess the temporal response (MHz-GHz), induced aberrations, and effect of instabilities. (2) fast control electronics—existing electromagnetic scan control electronics will be extensively modified to enable electrostatic scanning for testing low noise deflection voltages over a wide range of magnifications at high speed. (3) software—to match the hardware capabilities and with architecture and API providing advanced users access to arbitrary scans quickly and efficiently. The proposed development will enable new types of experiments for researchers around the world who invest in this technology and generate a marketable unique upgrade product for the only US-based electron microscope manufacturer, leading to more jobs in Washington state.
Topic Code
Solicitation Number


Last Modified 3/13/23

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
100% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
100.0% Federal Funding
0.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Interactive chart of timeline of amendments to DESC0023603

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
Small Business
Awarding Office
Funding Office
892401 SCIENCE
Awardee UEI
Awardee CAGE
Performance District
Not Applicable

Budget Funding

Federal Account Budget Subfunction Object Class Total Percentage
Science, Energy Programs, Energy (089-0222) General science and basic research Grants, subsidies, and contributions (41.0) $199,715 100%
Modified: 3/13/23