On 8 June 2021 the CNR-NANO institute in Modena hosted the MINEON Kick-off Meeting for the official launch and first-ever public presentation of the MINEON Project. Funded by the European Commission under its highly competitive Future and Emerging Technologies Programme (FET) – Innovation Launchpad, the project will run for 8 months starting on 1 June 2021.
The Kick-off event – which is organised by CNR – NANO and supported by QED – brought together leading institutions in the field of electron microscopy and quantum light optics, i.e. CNR-NANO (Project coordinator), the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Thermo Fisher Scientific.
MINEON, whose full name is MINiaturised Electron Optics for Nano-controlled beams, was conceived as a continuation of another successful FET project, called Q-SORT (www.qsort.eu).
During the course of Q-SORT, scientists devised an innovative approach to electron beam shaping based on MEMS technology and complex analogue control of the set-up. MINEON will further validate the design of a MEMS-based spiral phase plate (SPP), based on the above approach.
The spiral phase plate, which MINEON will realise for the first time, is predicted to improve the electron-microscope imaging of a vast class of systems, and in particular of biological samples, which are of crucial importance in the field of medicine. Indeed, the fact that these systems are made of light atoms normally causes them to yield low or non-existent contrast. The SPP addresses this problem.
The project -which includes applications to physics, biology, and biochemistry- is expected to have a wide-ranging impact due to the ubiquitous adoption of transmission electron microscopy across many disciplines. Moreover, the MINEON Consortium includes a world-leading company in the electron microscopy sector, FEI – ThermoFisher.
The scientific coordinator and principal investigator of MINEON is Vincenzo Grillo, a senior research fellow at CNR -the Italian National Research Council-, recipient of the prestigious Humboldt Foundation’s Bessel Research Award for his work on beam shaping and scientific coordinator of the project Q-SORT.
The MINEON consortium comprises the following European institutions:
CNR-NANO (Coordinator) – (Italy)
QED Film & Stage Productions Ltd. – (United Kingdom)
FEI – Thermo Fisher Scientific – (Netherlands)
Forschungszentrum Jülich – (Germany)