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Microscopy Education


Remote Operation: The Future of Education and Research in Electron Microscopy


Daniel E. Huber , Frank J. Scheltens , Robert E.A. Williams , and David W. McComb *


Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis , Department of Materials Science and Engineering , T e Ohio State University , 1305 Kinnear Rd ., Columbus , OH 43212


* mccomb.29@osu.edu


Abstract: The OSU-FEI Electron Microscopy Collaboratory multiplies the number of individuals who can experience hands-on advanced microscopy techniques. The


microscopy classroom allows up


to 33 attendees to operate, individually and in real time, electron microscopes as if they were sitting in front of the actual instruments. The communications link, a fast backbone augmented by Internet2, allows various microscopes to be operated from the classroom or by collaborators in another city. This system transforms the training of new users from a one-person-at-a-time session with an expert operator to a group collaborative activity that can include users from around the world.


Keywords: electron microscope operator training , advanced electron microscopes , classroom design , remote operation , collaboration , remote


Introduction


Advanced (scanning) transmission electron microscopes, (S)TEMs, can resolve individual atoms and measure atomic displacements with near picometer precision. T eir capabilities are enabling groundbreaking discoveries in fi elds ranging from materials science to medicine. Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) and dual-beam focused-ion-beam (FIB) instruments are


multi-technique platforms that are being used for research ranging from in situ studies of mechanical properties to 3D reconstruction of biomaterials. Coupling these powerful instruments with high-speed digital communications promises to revolutionize the way scientists collaborate with each other and train the next generation of researchers. By duplicating the control interface and connecting to the microscope through a high-speed network, users outside of the microscope control room can operate the instrument as if they were sitting in front of it. T is enables researchers in diff erent locations to work together, sharing observations in real time, and enables trainees to gain the hands-on experience they require to become profi cient in the use of these sophisticated techniques. T e creation of a digital lecture theater that provides this capability at every seat results in an electron microscopy collaboratory that revolutionizes teaching, learning, and research in electron microscopy and characterization.


The Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis at OSU


Figure 1 : The innovative building design and infrastructure at CEMAS ensures that instruments such as this monochromated aberration-corrected Titan 80-300 instrument is performing beyond the manufacturer specifi cations.


26 doi: 10.1017/S1551929518000871


T e Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS) at T e Ohio State University (OSU) is designed to provide the ideal environment for electron microscopy—designed by micros- copists for microscopy (cemas.osu. edu). T e innovative building design and quality infrastructure ensure that every instrument in the facility meets or exceeds manufacturer performance specifi cations ( Figure 1 ). T e physical infrastructure is further supported by an impressive intellectual foundation of nineteen permanent staff , including eight faculty members, nine research offi cers, two administrative offi cers, and two resident T ermoFisherScientifi c (FEI Company) specialists—a research applications engineer and a product marketing engineer. T e expertise of


www.microscopy-today.com • 2018 September


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