2012 R&D 100 Winner
Integrated microscopy systems offer the ability to quickly obtain a broad picture of a tested material, including physical, chemical, and electrical properties. Light microscopy has been successfully combined with scanning probe microscopy (SPM) in previous instruments, but NT-MDT Co., Moscow, is the first company to add Raman spectroscopy.

The Solver Spectrum is a hybrid of all three technologies: It is a light microscope, a scanning probe microscope, and a Raman spectrometer. NT-MDT accomplished this integration by engineering an optical design that guarantees alignment of the visual and Raman optical axis to the SPM. A proprietary optomechanical coupler, OMUFlex, combines a video camera with a confocal laser scanning module to allow the input of up to three lasers. It also manages polarization to both the excitation and emission channels, prevents laser scatter, and facilitates coupling to the Raman spectrometer without losing alignment.

The multiple-magnification light microscope can employ various contrast methods, including fluorescent and polarized light. The SPM tests samples with a lever arm equipped with an atomically sharp tip. Attractions and repulsions to this tip are detected by a laser beam and photodiode detector, which can report this data in the topographical, electrical, magnetic, or other domains. Finally, the Raman component provides a chemical fingerprint derived from the inelastic Raman scattering related to the molecular mass, bond strength, crystal symmetry, and orientation with the material.

Integrated three-function microscopy system


The Solver Spectrum Development Team from NT-MDT
Andrew Bykov
Aleksandr Mazmanyan
Vyacheslav Polyakov
Alan Quinn
Alexey Shchekin
Sergey Timofeev
Robert Wynne