When I started out in electron microscopy 20 years ago, I listened to a talk my supervisor gave to a lay audience where he explained why he had dedicated his life to exploring the nanoworld through the electron microscope. He recalled how as a child he had been fascinated by the thirst for knowledge and adventure that drove early explorers to sail their ships around the globe to discover new worlds. He drew the comparison between the explorers of old and the electron microscopists of today and how electron microscopes are the ships for today’s explorers, transporting them into the nanoworld where there are still plenty of things to be discovered. But exploration and discovery is only of practical use when it can be explained and communicated. To this end, explorers such as James Cook carried artists on their ships to record images of the new worlds and developed new scientific techniques to record their discoveries. James Cook, in particular, exceeded his remit as a royal navy captain in his study of the link between the lack of fresh food and scurvy, which he presented in a talk to the Royal Society.
Over the next twelve months, I hope to start a dialogue between you, the explorers of today, and our experts here at Oxford Instruments via this blog, at conferences, trade shows, workshops and social media. At Oxford Instruments I am fortunate to be surrounded by a highly skilled and motivated team who have an absolutely astonishing amount of knowledge and insight into electron and ion beam microscopy and the associated analytical methods such as EDS, WDS and EBSD that support you, our users all over the world, in your explorations of the Nanoworld. Our experts here are passionate about pushing the boundaries of microanalysis and come to work every day in order to develop new tools and methods that help exceed the boundaries of current knowledge by making things visible that could not see before. However, we need your input to develop solutions that interpret and explain the data in a way you and your customers want to see it presented – whether that is how we display maps and images in our software or report data for specific applications such as additive manufacturing, technical cleanliness analysis or lithium-ion battery manufacture.
To this end we want to ask you, our users to interact with us by telling us more about your voyages into the nanoworld, and share difficult questions and interesting explorations that you tackled with our tools. With your permission, we would like to publish some of your contributions here on our website as well as showcase it at our events this year. Not only will your work be referenced to promote and cite your research, but all approved entrants will be entered into our prize draw at the end of the year.
In the coming weeks and months, you can expect further blog posts written by our experts on in situ EDS analysis in TEM, EBSD post processing, seeing beyond the greyscale in life science samples, how our technology works to get the right result first time and many more topics. I hope you will find this blog useful and stimulating and look forward to reading your feedback and comments. Even more importantly, I hope that we can all learn more about each other’s challenges and how we can work together to solve them. If we do that, then I feel confident that we can support you to explore and explain the new worlds you see in the electron microscope, exceed what is possible today and decide together with us where to go next.
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