News: News, Research, Vic

New microscopy for future materials

Materials for our future industries are being developed now. More sensitive microscopy that can reveal more about their atomic structure is also on the horizon.

Prof. Joanne Etheridge, Director of our Monash University facility was awarded the prestigious 2022 Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship from the ARC to develop new forms of electron microscopy.

To understand how materials behave, it can be critical to understand the type and arrangement of their atoms. Transmission electron microscopy is an extremely powerful tool to reveal the atomic structure of materials, however, there are still many material’s structures that can’t be solved with existing techniques. Prof. Etheridge’s Laureate project aims to reimagine the fundamental concepts behind an electron microscope. This includes the development and integration of new ways to control, scatter and detect electrons to capture the desired atomic information. She anticipates that this will achieve an entirely new level of sensitivity to analyse crucial atomic-scale features. This should enable new insights into a variety of materials now being engineered for energy storage and production, computing, communications, lighting and drug delivery, as just a few examples.

Using the Georgina Sweet Award, Prof. Etheridge will also establish programs to support early and mid-career researchers within the electron microscopy and imaging physics communities and work through entities such as the Australian Academy of Science and the International Science Council’s Standing Committee for Gender Equality in Science to develop and advocate for employment structures and funding mechanisms that facilitate diverse career pathways in scientific research.

Prof. Jo Etheridge with a transmission electron microscope.

January 27, 2023