News

December 2015

Open doors with WITec

The advent of a new tradition

The Advent Calendar is a beloved holiday activity in Germany and many other countries with its origins in the 19th century. Though originally intended for children in anticipation of Christmas they’ve become increasingly popular among adults as well, and the WITec team is no exception. This year we decided to create our own. What surprises await behind little closed doors? Funny stories, useful information and maybe even some nice gifts to win?Our Santa Claus raffle has not yet expired and another 17 doors are to be opened. Find out!

November 2015

Webinar on RISE Microscopy: Advances in Correlative Raman - SEM Imaging

Thursday December 10, 2015, 16:00 CET, 11:00 EST, 17:00 GMT

 

Correlative microscopy is a hybrid approach that looks at a sample with different microscope technologies, each optimized individually then later linked for a far more detailed analysis of chemical and structural features. A new correlative method is RISE – Raman Imaging and Scanning Electron – microscopy. With this technique, information on the chemical composition of a sample provided by the optical Raman microscope is correlated with structural features imaged by a high resolution scanning electron microscope. The integration of both in one device eliminates the need to manually locate the same measurement position, a notoriously time-consuming process with separate instruments.

This webinar will first introduce the principles of state-of-the-art confocal Raman imaging as a tool for analyzing the chemical and molecular characteristics of a sample, then show how this information can be correlated with structural information acquired with scanning electron microscopy. It will demonstrate the advantages and ease-of-use of a system integrating both microscope technologies.

 

Key learning objectives

  • Be introduced to the basics of Raman microscopy for chemical 3D imaging
  • Learn about the principles of RISE analysis and how to routinely perform state-of-the-art correlative Raman Imaging and Scanning Electron microscopy
  • Get an overview of fields of application in which RISE Microscopy has been successfully applied

 

Register today at:

http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/witecwebinars

October 2015

Conference Review: 12th Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium

At first glance cement, cancer cells, interstellar dust, two-dimensional materials, billion-year-old microfossils, emulsions and the Kramers-Heisenberg-Dirac formula appear to have little if anything in common. Yet they were all among the topics discussed by some 50 biologists, physicists, pharmaceutical researchers and chemists within the context of Raman Imaging. For the twelfth time WITec, the German manufacturer of Raman imaging systems, had invited scientists from all over the world to an interdisciplinary symposium in Ulm (Germany) at the end of September.

Though the constituent sessions were grouped conventionally in areas of interest such as Materials Science, Life Science, 2D Materials and Geosciences, there were also underlying interdisciplinary connections in addition to Raman imaging as the common investigative technique. An example was the analysis of everyday materials whose features and production processes are still not fully understood at the molecular level.

While two billion tons of cement are used every year worldwide, the associated chemical reactions and their kinetics during the production of clinker from limestone and silicate materials remain partially obscure. Using Raman imaging, Mika Lindén from the University of Ulm (Germany) identified and located various phases during the hydration of clinker, one of the steps in the production of cement. Production processes in glass fabrication also continue to be investigated as Ralf Seuwen from Schott Glass in Mainz (Germany) explained. He uses Raman spectroscopy to find the source of bubbles in glasses. As the composition of a bubble’s gas indicates its origin, Raman spectroscopy applied in the production line can reduce waste and improve the manufacturing process. The food production industry also takes advantage of Raman imaging. Maria Sovago from Unilever in Vlaardingen (The Netherlands) analyzed the molecular composition of emulsions and showed how monoglycerides at the interface between oil drops and the aqueous phase as well as crystalline lipids stabilize emulsions.

Martin Hilchenbach and Frédéric Foucher are both undertaking exploratory work that will ultimately lead to Raman analyses being conducted on materials in outer space. The ESA Rosetta spacecraft carries a secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS) to investigate dust from the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. On Earth Hilchenbach, of the Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen (Germany), evaluates reference materials from meteorites with Raman imaging and SIMS. Raman has been shown capable of detecting contaminations with great sensitivity. Using these results he intends to calibrate the SIMS on the spacecraft.

Foucher from the Center for Molecular Biophysics in Orléans (France) searches for traces of microbial remains in Martian rocks, one of the aims of future Mars missions. In preparation he analyzed fossilized, 800 Ma old microbes from the Draken Formation in Svalbard. Though Raman spectroscopy is very sensitive to both organic and mineral compounds it is difficult to distinguish them in a fossilized state. Foucher however succeeded in identifying specific signatures associated with biotic microfossils by performing Raman mapping instead of single spot analysis. Exactly how a space-qualified Raman imaging system can be miniaturized for a journey to Mars remains an outstanding challenge.

Back in terrestrial exploration, surprising data with the potential for technological applications were presented by José Fernández from the Institute for Ceramics and Glass in Madrid (Spain). He observed by confocal Raman microscopy that changing the polarization of the Raman laser can move ferroelectric domain walls of BaTiO3 single crystals. With the AFM mounted on the Raman microscope he correlated the local changes with the topography there. As BaTiO3 is a perovskite, applications of this effect in random access memories or piezoelectric actuators are conceivable.

While Raman imaging has long been used in materials sciences and geosciences, it only recently gained a foothold in life sciences. The majority of the posters this year dealt with biological, medical and pharmaceutical research, ranging from the detection of nano-plastics in the Baltic Sea to the imaging of living cells. Two of the contributed talks also emerged from life science: Carmen Lawatschek from Humboldt University in Berlin (Germany) showed how Raman imaging can accelerate the screening of peptide sequences for drug binding. Samir El-Mashtoly from the University of Bochum (Germany) described how this technology can be used to study cellular responses of specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors that bind to extracellular receptors known to play important roles in cancer development. His results indicate that non-invasive Raman microscopy could be a useful tool in studying the action and pharmacokinetics of drugs.

These contributions were preceded by an overview from Halina Abramczyk of the laboratory of Laser Molecular Spectroscopy in Lodz (Poland) on Raman investigations of breast cancer. In addition to structural studies she identified carotenoids, mammaglobin and specific fatty acids as Raman diagnostic markers for breast cancer prognosis. Dominique Lunter from the University of Tübingen (Germany) presented a confocal Raman microscopy-based methodology for investigating the drug contents and their distribution in an ex vivo pig skin assay.

Interdisciplinary conferences such as our Raman symposium thrive on research being communicated across fields, accessible to those whose expertise lies elsewhere. There were however no constraints on physicists characteristically challenging their audience. At the beginning it was Sebastian Schlücker from the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) who not only reviewed the history of Raman spectroscopy up through its latest imaging variants, he also presented the fundamentals of resonance Raman scattering, molecular vibrations and symmetry using the example of the water molecule. Glen Birdwell from the US Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi (USA) cast light on the subtle interactions between layers of bifold graphene whose stacking configurations exhibit different properties. He presented data that allows for a comparison of the positions of the superlattice-related Raman modes with existing theory.

Finally, the poster award was given to the physicist Kishan Thodkar from the University of Basel (Switzerland). He analyzed the shifts in the position of graphene’s 2D peaks as a marker of how temperature influences the formation of nano-gaps in CVD graphene. Using large Raman imaging scans of graphene’s D, G and 2D peaks he also documented the effects of solvent cleaning on graphene field – effect transistors.

This short review offers only a glimpse of the topics presented at the 12th Symposium on Confocal Raman Imaging, which was a great success in providing a format for the exchange of ideas and developments in Raman imaging and their applications in science and industry. The meeting was accompanied by a half-day Raman Imaging School and a full day demonstration of equipment at WITec’s headquarters in Ulm.

The 13th Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium will be held from September 26th to 28th 2016 in Ulm, Germany.

 

Book of Abstract

 

Conference Attendees Group Picture (4.2 MB)
Book of Abstracts (5.6 MB)
September 2015

New Award for our apyron system

Our distributor Marek Cernik of UniExport in the Czech Republic received the first prize of the trade Laborexpo.

LABOREXPO is the most important trade fair in the field of analytical, measurement and laboratory equipment in the Czech Republic - held only once every two years.

 

July 2015

WITec Microscope at Gymnasium Nanotechnology Exhibition

WITec lends its supports to the nanotechnology exhibition “Explore Nano World” organized by 14 students of the Gymnasium Wertingen with an alpha300 S microscope on display. The exhibition at the University of Augsburg highlights the emerging role of nanotechnology in daily life and showcases relevant research areas, applications, tools and end-user products. During a yearlong project work on nanotechnology the senior class students of the Gymnasium prepared 170 sqm of exhibition space. WITec contributes as a sponsor and has provided the Near-field & AFM microscope to be displayed as a tool for exploring the nanoworld along with a 3D topography print of an AFM polymer surface image.

The exhibition is open from 21 – 23 July 2015 at the „Anwenderzentrum Material- und Umweltforschung“ (AMU) of the Augsburg University.

The image shows (f.l.t.r.) the responsible students Manuel Burkard, Simon Lösel, Julian Neukirchner and the head of the project Elisabeth Fehrenbach. (Image courtesy of J. Neukirchner)

June 2015

apyron: From Shortlist to Winner's Podium

Our new automated Raman Imaging system apyron was chosen from five candidates as the winner of the Achema 2015 Innovation Award in the catogary Laboratory and Analytical Engineering. The Innovation Award is presented by professional media PROCESS, PROCESS worldwide, PharmaTEC and LABORPRAXIS.

 

Achema User Award - Vote and Win

Laborpraxis and Process invite scientists to choose their personal favourite among the award-winning products of the 7th Innovation Award at ACHEMA 2015 (with the chance of winning a fischertechnik construction kit.). In order to participate please visit: http://www.process-worldwide.com/user-award/. Voting is possible until 16. July 2015.

Press Release (English) (62 KB)
Press Release (German) (70 KB)
March 2015

Japan: New Office - More Space

We are pleased to announce that WITec K.K., our Japanese branch office, has moved into a larger office space. To meet the increasing demand for high resolution microscopy solutions, the new office will accommodate larger demo facilities as well as more room for administration and service. The new office continues to be located within the Kanagawa Science Park (KSP), which provides an ideal infrastructure for an established manufacturer of high-tech scientific instrumentation.

Management of the office remains in the hands of Dr. Keiichi Nakamoto, who has successfully developed our market in Japan over the past three years. With his profound knowledge of Raman Imaging, Atomic Force and Scanning Near-Field Optical Microscopy, Dr. Nakamoto will be available to advise on all questions related to sales, service or applications involving the WITec product range.

The new office aims to further establish WITec high-resolution microscope systems in the scientific community of Japan and we look forward to developing an ongoing successful business relationship with you. The new office is located at:

WITec K.K.

KSP W713B Sakado 3-2-1 Takatsu-ku

Kawasaki-shi Kanagawa 213-0012 JAPAN

Tel: +81-44-819-7773

keiichi.nakamoto@witec-instruments.biz

www.WITec.de

March 2015

Researchers are honored with WITec Paper Award 2015

The winners of this year’s WITec Paper Awards have been announced. Research groups from Poland, Switzerland and Singapore won the Paper Awards in gold, silver and bronze, respectively. The annual awards honor outstanding scientific publications that feature results acquired with a WITec instrument. Scientists from all over the world submitted more than 80 publications, from between January and December 2014, to this year’s competition. A jury chose the three winning papers from among the submissions. Selection criteria included the impact of the scientific results and the originality of the applied techniques.

The gold Paper Award goes to Katarzyna Marzec for her work on heme oxidation in red blood cells (erythrocytes). Hemes are the oxygen binding components of hemoglobin, the red pigment in blood. In their paper “High resolution Raman imaging reveals spatial location of heme oxidation sites in single red blood cells of dried smears” Marzec and colleagues from the group of Malgorzata Baranska at the Jagiellonian Centre for Experimental Therapeutics, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland documented for the first time the spatial distribution of Fe2+/Fe3+ hemes inside single erythrocytes combining various microscopic techniques such as confocal Raman imaging, atomic force microscopy, and scanning near-field optical microscopy. This work convinced WITec’s jury by illustrating the beneficial application of confocal Raman imaging combined with AFM for research in life science.

The WITec Paper Award in silver is presented to Martin Süess from the ETH in Zurich (Switzerland). Süess from the group of Ralph Spolenak together with other Swiss and French colleagues analyzed strain in complex three-dimensional nanobridges. The paper “Power-dependent Raman analysis of highly strained Si nanobridges” describes how a combination of micro-Raman spectroscopy and finite element analysis is used to develop a better understanding of strain on silicon nanobridges.

The bronze WITec Paper Award winners are researchers from the Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore. Chunxiao Cong and Ting Yu published a study on folded graphene: “Enhanced ultra-low-frequency interlayer shear modes in folded graphene layers”. Through comprehensive Raman imaging studies the scientists analyzed shear modes in few-layer graphene that due to their extremely weak signal are very difficult to detect.

WITec recently announced the WITec Paper Award 2016 for research published in 2015. Scientists from all fields of application in both academia and industry are invited to submit their publications featuring results acquired with a WITec instrument to papers@witec.de.

WITec PaperAward 2015 Gold: Katarzyna Marzec (1.3 MB)
WITec PaperAward 2015 Silver: Martin Süess (1.6 MB)
WITec Paper Award 2015 Bronze: Ting Yu (1 MB)
Press Release (English) (121 KB)
Press Release (German) (118 KB)
March 2015

WITec Introduces apyron - The Next Generation of Automated Raman Imaging Systems

High-resolution imaging meets high-resolution spectroscopy

WITec launches its fully automated, easy-to-use, class-leading Raman imaging system apyron at Pittcon 2015 in New Orleans. With its unrivaled spectral resolution in 3D confocal Raman imaging and extremely sensitive laser power determination with a mouse click, apyron surpasses any previous standard of performance. “WITec’s tried and tested modularity makes the apyron exceptionally versatile:  Raman newcomers, industry labs with measurement routines and time-critical analyses, as well as scientists with challenging experiments can explore Raman imaging beyond the established frontiers of their fields”, says Dr. Olaf Hollricher, Managing Director, R&D at WITec.

The apyron fully automated Raman microscope system includes laser wavelength selection with subsequent adjustment of all associated spectrometer and microscope components to ensure optimized system performance. The absolute laser power determination and regulation in 0.1 milliwatt steps preserves delicate samples and guarantees the reproducibility of measurement conditions. The UHTS 600, a new 600 mm focal length spectrometer designed specifically for automated Raman imaging, enables challenging experiments at even very low light intensities. Versions are available for a wide variety of excitation wavelengths and optimized for their specific lasers.

Spectral resolution is unprecedented, down to 0.1 rel 1/cm per pixel (@633 nm excitation). Highly detailed spectral information is given for every image pixel, and more than 16 mio. Raman spectra can be acquired in a single dataset. The system setup includes TrueSignal to maximize the light into the fiber output of the microscope. Thus, apyron delivers images with outstanding spectral and spatial resolution in 3D, limited laterally only by physical law.

While extremely sophisticated, apyron is also an easy-to-use, push-button instrument. Pre-defined calibration routines are integrated to facilitate quick and user-friendly system maintenance with consistently high system performance.

apyron has been developed to erase the boundary between ease-of-use and ultimate capability in Raman imaging.” explains Harald Fischer, WITec Marketing Director, “It sets a new benchmark for automated Raman imaging systems regarding sensitivity, speed and operator convenience.”

Press Release (english) (113 KB)
Press Release (German) (114 KB)
February 2015

WITec’s RISE Microscope wins Prism Award 2015

WITec and Tescan have been recognized with a 2015 Photonics Prism Award. An expert jury named the correlative RISE microscope as winner in the metrology category. The Prism Award is given for top innovations in the field of photonics, granted by Photonics Media and sponsored by the international Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE.). The winners were chosen from more than 130 applicants.

RISE Microscopy is a novel correlative microscopy technique that combines confocal Raman Imaging and Scanning Electron (RISE) Microscopy within one integrated microscope system. This unique combination enables the most comprehensive sample characterization: electron microscopy is an excellent technique for visualizing sample surface structures in the nanometer range; confocal Raman imaging is an established spectroscopic method used for the detection of the chemical and molecular components of a sample. It can also generate 2D- and 3D-images and depth profiles to visualize the distribution of the molecular compounds within a sample. The RISE Microscope enables for the first time the acquisition of SEM and Raman images from the same sample area and the correlation of ultra-structural and chemical information with one microscope system.

“The RISE Microscope is another striking example of WITec’s enormous innovative strength. We are proud to once again receive a Prism Award, the second after being recognized in 2011 for WITec’s TrueSurface microscopy technology”,  says Dr. Olaf Hollricher, WITec Managing Director R&D.

“The success of the RISE Microscope is clear evidence of the competence of our R&D team but also of our ability to grow working contacts with prominent research institutions as well as with leading innovative companies. The innovative strength of the TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING is an important driving force of our outstanding business success”, says Ing. Jaroslav Klíma, CEO at TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING, a.s.

The microscope’s development was a joint effort of WITec and TESCAN within the UNIVSem project, funded by the EU. It provides all functions and features of a stand-alone SEM and a confocal Raman microscope. Both SEM and Raman are high-resolution imaging techniques with sub-nanometer and diffraction-limited 200-300 nanometer resolution, respectively. In Raman imaging mode the sample can be scanned through a range of 250 µm x 250 µm x 250 µm. RISE Microscopy pairs ease-of-use with exceptional analyzing benefits and is therefore suited to a large variety of applications such as nanotechnology, materials sciences, geology and life sciences.

Press Release in English (253 KB)
Press Release in German (255 KB)
January 2015

RISE Microscopy reaches the winner’s podium in the Analytical Scientist Innovation Awards (TASIAs) 2014

The Analytical Scientist Innovation Awards (TASIAs) recognize top innovations in the field of analytical chemistry. A jury of three independent experts and The Analytical Scientist editorial team chose the Raman Imaging and Scanning Electron (RISE) Microscope from the German microscope manufacturer WITec as the second 2014 TASIA winner.

RISE Microscopy TASIARISE Microscopy is a novel correlative microscopy technique that combines confocal Raman Imaging and Scanning Electron Microscopy. It is a joint development of WITec and the Czech electron microscopy company TESCAN. “RISE Microscopy enables for the first time the acquisition of SEM and Raman images from the same sample area and the correlation of ultra-structural and chemical information with one microscope system. It accelerates the research workflow significantly as it reduces the time-consuming sample transfer between different systems.” explains Dr. Olaf Hollricher, CEO and Director R&D at WITec.

“The correlative nature can provide new answers and findings for challenging material characterization problems in pharmaceutical, geo, nano-carbon or semiconductor research to name just a few of the potential fields of application.” adds Harald Fischer, WITec Marketing Director “The RISE Microscope is another striking example of WITec’s enormous innovative strength and we are very pleased that it convinced the TASIA jury.”

Rich Whitworth, Editor of The Analytical Scientist, says “Our first TASIAs in 2013 set a worryingly high benchmark for all subsequent awards. I am delighted to report that the 2014 TASIAs easily hit that benchmark […]”. The judges honored RISE Microscopy as “a high-tech tool for materials science [… that] allows molecules to be studied in their ‘context’”.

All winners of TASIAs 2014 can be found in the latest issue (#1214) of The Analytical Scientist: https://theanalyticalscientist.com/

For information about RISE Microscopy please click here

Press release in English (259 KB)
Press release in German (266 KB)