MerlinEM

The Direct Electron Detector (DED) pushing the boundaries of capability in TEMs.

Our MerlinEELS Application Note shows how users have applied High kV core-loss imaging to their EELS application where electron counting and zero-read out noise are crucial. Additionally the high dynamic range of the detector is demonstrated in zero-loss peak area.
Our MerlinEM Ptychography Application Note explores the reconstruction of samples complex phase with two different modes of ptychography in 4D-STEM
The MerlinEM 4D STEM Application Note outlines MerlinEM’s use in imaging of electro-magnetic fields in nano beam diffraction and in atomically resolved imaging.

MerlinEM Installation Sites

TitleAddress Description
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
University of Oxford
Diamond House, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Fermi Ave, Didcot OX11 0DE, UK
NIST
100 Bureau Dr, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC V8P 5C2, Canada
EMAT University of Antwerp
Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
MPI Stuttgart
Heisenbergstraße 3, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
Ernst Ruska Centre
52428 Jülich, Germany
Brookhaven National Laboratory
98 Rochester St, Upton, NY 11973, USA
RIKEN
Japan, 〒351-0105 Saitama, Wako, Nishiyamatodanchi, 2−1 2-1
The Univeristy of Queensland
St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
TU Darmstadt
Karolinenpl. 5, 64289 Darmstadt, Germany
University Paris Sud
15 Rue Georges Clemenceau, 91400 Orsay, France
National University of Singapore
21 Lower Kent Ridge Rd, Singapore 119077
Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS
Walter-Hülse-Straße 1, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
Wuhan University
Wuchang District, Wuhan, Hubei, China, 430072
TU Berlin
Straße des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin, Germany
Shanghai Tech University
393 Huaxia Middle Rd, Pudong Xinqu, China, 201210
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Høgskoleringen 1, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
The University of Cambridge
The Old Schools, Trinity Ln, Cambridge CB2 1TN, UK
University of Texas in Austin
Austin, TX 78712, USA
University of Manchester
Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
CNRS - Institut Néel
25 Avenue des Martyrs, 38042 Grenoble, France
University of York
Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK
University Paris Sud- Orsay
15 Rue Georges Clemenceau, 91400 Orsay, France

MerlinEM

The MerlinEM Direct Electron Detector (DED) is an advanced detector development in the field of Electron Microscopy, combining direct detection of electrons and rapid readout in a pixelated format ideal for applications such as 4D STEM and TEM dynamic imaging. Each sensor pixel is individually bump-bonded to an intelligent chip which uses threshold discriminators to distinguish electrons from the background, effectively eliminating all readout noise. This allows for integral mode imaging where multiple short exposure images are acquired and summed together. Uniquely, neighbouring pixels can communicate to mitigate charge-sharing effects, and this, combined with the direct detection of electrons, yields enhanced performance. As beam energies decrease toward 60 keV, the Merlin for EM has been shown to provide near-ideal DQE and MTF detector response.

Specifications

Rapid readout

Kilohertz frame rates in continuous mode with zero deadtime offers more experimental flexibility than ever before, minimising effects such as sample drift, and enabling single shot and “pump and probe” dynamic experiments.

Direct detection

Noiseless detection of single electron events.

Effectively noise free

Two threshold discriminators in each pixel means zero read noise and dark current.

Dynamic range

Up to 24-bit counting depth enabling 1:16.7 million intensity range in a single image, ideal for recording diffraction patterns.

Charge Summing Mode (CSM)

Communication between pixels designed to mitigate charge sharing effects for maximising both DQE and MTF.

Wide energy range and radiation tolerance

Minimum 30 keV threshold making low energy EM imaging possible, and radiation tolerant design to 300 keV.

No beamstop requirements

Radiation tolerant design means no need for a beamstop in diffraction experiments.

Mount

Static and retractable mounts available to fit many electron microscopes.

Software

The various acquisition modes, as well as many other input parameters for the optimisation of the MERLIN system, are easily chosen by a user friendly Graphical Interface as well as remotely controlled via TCP/IP protocol, and Digital Micrograph. Merlin data can be used with many other software tools, including: – HyperSpy:  https://hyperspy.org/ – pixStem: https://pixstem.org/ – pyXem: for working with scanning (precession) electron diffraction (S(P)ED) data, https://pyxem.github.io/pyxem/ -more tools can be found here https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/physics/research/groups/mcmp/researchareas/pixstem/ Tools for handling data from fast pixelated detectors such as Merlin are a dynamic and very active field of research, so please let us know if you are working on any and would like us to link to your libraries. Collaboration fuels progress!

Olivia Sleator

Olivia Sleator

Sales Manager

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Hybrid Pixel Technology

Merlin is a new type of technology in the field of electron microscopy. It is a detector based on a hybrid pixel architecture. The detector assembly consists of a thick, highly resistive semiconductor sensor coupled to a Medipix3 chip. Incoming radiation generates charge in the sensor which diffuses under an applied bias to the CMOS circuitry of the individual pixels (via an array of micro-bump bonds). Each pixel contains >1100 transistors (within the 55 micrometer pitch), enabling on-chip counting of incident electrons and enhanced operation modes such as Charge Summing Mode (more about this later). The counting process consists of analogue comparison of the collected charge to a user selected energy threshold, and subsequent digital counting at 1 MHz if the threshold is exceeded. Thus, since the data readout relating the number of electrons counted by each pixel is digital, the Merlin detector operates free of readout noise. This is a feature unique to hybrid pixel technology and strongly differentiates it from analogue integrating detectors, such as CCD technology. Counting detectors are known to offer highest imaging performance in terms of modulation transfer function (MTF) and detective quantum efficiency (DQE). The Merlin detector has been shown combine ideal TEM performance at the low energies needed to study 2D materials such as graphene for 60keV electrons 1 with 1000’s per second frame rates.

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Data Binning in Merlin

MERLIN provides high versatility with a variety of intrinsically fast (due to highly parallelized digital readout) large dynamic range acquisition options, namely: 14,400 fps@1 bit depth, 2,400 fps @ 6 bit depth, 1,200fps @12 bit and 600fps@24 bit depth. These readout modes (unlike the speed-up strategies employed with CCD technology) are unbinned and therefore imply no reduction of pixel resolution or field of view. Moreover, due to the electron counting approach of the detection system as well as the fully digital readout, MERLIN adds zero noise allowing a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) as high as a 16.7 million:1.

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Dead Time in Merlin

There is no dead time in data collection! The advanced pixel architecture implements two readout counters per pixel and provides a continuous read/write acquisition mode with zero detector dead time (CCD technologies rely on non active detector frame store areas to reduce detector dead time). The various acquisition modes, as well as many other input parameters for the optimisation of the MERLIN system, are easily chosen by a user friendly Graphical Interface as well as remotely controlled via TCP/IP protocol.

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Installation of Merlin

The MERLIN system is really “Plug and Play”, with the detector simply connected by one or two cables, depending on the type of installation (static or retractable). The Medipix3 chip has a very low (<1 Watt) power consumption, requiring minimal cooling and no need for connection to microscope water supplies or to pneumatics. The readout electronics are connected to the detector head via a 10 meter cable, thus giving ultimate flexibility. Therefore, MERLIN installation is rapid and designed not to impact on other microscope services.

Publications

Low dose imaging

 

2019
  • Electron Ptychography Using Fast Binary 4D STEM Data
    O’Leary, Colum M. and Liberti, Emanuela and Collins, Sean M. and Johnstone, Duncan N. and Rothmann, Mathias and Hou, Jingwei and Allen, Christopher S. and Kim, Judy S. and Bennett, Thomas D. and Midgley, Paul A. and Kirkland, Angus I. and Nellist, Peter D.
    p. 1662–16632019
  • Metal-organic framework crystal-glass composites
    Hou, Jingwei and Ashling, Christopher W. and Collins, Sean M. and Krajnc, Andra\v{z} and Zhou, Chao and Longley, Louis and Johnstone, Duncan N. and Chater, Philip A. and Li, Shichun and Coulet, Marie Vanessa and Llewellyn, Philip L. and Coudert, François Xavier and Keen, David A. and Midgley, Paul A. and Mali, Gregor and Chen, Vicki and Bennett, Thomas D.
    p. 1–282019

Electromagnetic fields

 

2019
2018
2016

 

Time resolved imaging

 

2019

 

Atomic resolution electric fields

 

2019

2D-materials

2019

  • Electron Ptychography Using Fast Binary 4D STEM Data
    O’Leary, Colum M. and Liberti, Emanuela and Collins, Sean M. and Johnstone, Duncan N. and Rothmann, Mathias and Hou, Jingwei and Allen, Christopher S. and Kim, Judy S. and Bennett, Thomas D. and Midgley, Paul A. and Kirkland, Angus I. and Nellist, Peter D.
    p. 1662–16632019

     

2018
    • Hollow Electron Ptychographic Diffractive Imaging
      Song, Biying and Ding, Zhiyuan and Allen, Christopher S. and Sawada, Hidetaka and Zhang, Fucai and Pan, Xiaoqing and Warner, Jamie and Kirkland, Angus I. and Wang, Peng
      American Physical Societyp. 1461012018

 

3D imaging

 

2019
2018
    • Imaging Structure and Magnetisation in New Ways Using 4D STEM
      MacLaren, I. and Nord, Magnus and Conner, Suzanne and McGrouther, D and Allen, Christopher S. and Danaie, Mohsen and Kirkland, Angus I. and Bali, Rantej and Hlawacek, Gregor and Lindner, J\”{u}rgen and Faßbender, J\”{u}rgen
      p. 180–1812018

 

Ptychography

 

2019
  • Electron Ptychography Using Fast Binary 4D STEM Data
    O’Leary, Colum M. and Liberti, Emanuela and Collins, Sean M. and Johnstone, Duncan N. and Rothmann, Mathias and Hou, Jingwei and Allen, Christopher S. and Kim, Judy S. and Bennett, Thomas D. and Midgley, Paul A. and Kirkland, Angus I. and Nellist, Peter D.
    p. 1662–16632019
2018
    • Hollow Electron Ptychographic Diffractive Imaging
      Song, Biying and Ding, Zhiyuan and Allen, Christopher S. and Sawada, Hidetaka and Zhang, Fucai and Pan, Xiaoqing and Warner, Jamie and Kirkland, Angus I. and Wang, Peng
      American Physical Societyp. 1461012018

 

 

Pharmaceuticals

2019

 

TEM imaging

2019
2017

Diffraction imaging

Xspress 3 Application Notes

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EELS Application Notes

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Ptychography Application Notes

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4D STEM Application Notes

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