Kitware Receives Funding to Develop an Open-Source Application for Atomic Scale Tomography using S/TEM

Kitware has announced a new Department of Energy SBIR Phase I award to develop an open-source platform for materials reconstruction using scanning transmission electron microscopes (S/TEM).

Scanning transmission electron microscopes have advanced the state-of-the-art in the field, facilitating the 3D characterization of materials at the nano and mesoscale. The importance of this type of 3D characterization has extended to a wide class of nanomaterials including hydrogen fuel cells, solar cells, industrial catalysts, new battery materials, and semiconductor devices. While there currently exists a large quantity of capable instrumentation, the rapidly expanding demand for high-resolution tomography is bottlenecked by software that is tailored to lower-dose, biological applications rather than higher-resolution, materials applications.

To address this bottleneck, Kitware will collaborate with Cornell University on the SBIR project “Open-Source Visualization and Analysis Platform for 3D Reconstructions of Materials by Transmission Electron Microscopy.” During Phase I of the project, the team will develop and test a fully functional, freely-distributable, open-source S/TEM package. This package will incorporate a modern user interface that enables the alignment and reconstruction of raw tomography data. The S/TEM package will also provide advanced 3D visualization and analysis that is specifically optimized for materials applications.

Dr. Marcus D. Hanwell, a Technical Leader on Kitware’s Scientific Computing team, will serve as the Principal Investigator for the project. Dr. Hanwell has experience in experimental materials characterization, including TEM acquisition and analysis. He will work with Professor David A. Muller and Dr. Robert Hovden from Cornell University.

The project will leverage existing in-house tomography software developed at Cornell University with professional software interfaces developed by Kitware. The team will create a user-friendly, cross-platform, graphical desktop application that provides for an integrated collection, alignment, reconstruction, and analysis environment.

“There are significant opportunities associated with 3D imaging at the nanoscale for materials engineering,” Dr. Hanwell said. “Our platform will fuel advanced research in some of the most active fields today, such as fuel cell research for the automotive industry and alternative energy solar cell research.”

The work discussed in this material will be supported by the Department of Energy under Award Number DE – SC0011385.

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