QMT Features: December 2014
Technology grant winners announced
The Olympus and QMT judging panel have decided

The winners of the opto-digital technology grant, offered by Olympus in partnership with QMT magazine have been announced and come from sectors as diverse as medical research, solar energy and flexible electronics.

The sponsorship offered by Olympus was for the loan of one of its latest opto-digital microscopes free of charge for up to six months. The sponsorship also included free installation, training and technical support.

Applicants were invited to submit short proposals for innovative inspection projects that were technically challenging and required advanced microscopy technology to be successful. They were judged on four main criteria, namely scientific excellence, application excellence, innovation and the relevance of the optodigital technology to the application.

The first award, for a DSX500 high-resolution motorised opto-digital microscope was made to Francois Chancerel of the S’TlLE in France, which is developing a new process for the manufacture of integrated monocrystalline silicon solar cells. The cells need to be inspected to a precision of 1µ and it is difficult to measure porosity and height. The DSX500 will allow this and help S’TILE understand the material better.

The judges saw this as an application that could lead to the development of lower cost, more efficient renewable energy solutions. The second award, for a DSX500i inverted high-resolution motorised opto-digital microscope was made to Björn Busse of the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Department of Osteology and Biomechanics.

Dr Busse aims to use micro-indentation studies on bone samples to understand differences in bone quality and fracture mechanisms between healthy people, older people and people who have had osteoporotic fractures. The use of the opto-digital microscope could overcome the drawbacks of electron microscopy in making these measurements.

The judges saw that this was a valuable contribution to developing a new research technique that could eventually deliver a social and health benefit, with the side benefit of developing better surface analysis techniques.
There were two awards for the loan of a LEXT OLS4100 laser scanning microscope, which can perform non-contact 3D observations and measurements of surface features at 10 nanometer resolutions.

Both the winners in this category are working in the area of flexible electronics and the judges saw the merit of making two three month awards rather than one six month award.

The two winners were Dr Megan Cordill of the Erich Schmid Institute of Materials Science, Austrian Academy of Science, and Dario Gastaldi of the Politecnico di Milano, Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering.

The judges saw that both could make a valuable contribution to the development of more effective and durable products with a lower carbon footprint and bring new benefits in areas such as wearable electronics and medical devices.

Numerous entries were received covering subjects ranging from failure analysis to art conservation, natural history and process engineering – with applicants coming from industry, academia and research institutes from across the entire EMEA region.
The entries were judged by a panel comprising Dr Harald Bosse of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany, Prof Guido Tosello, Technical University of Denmark,  DTU Mechanical Engineering, Denmark and Andy Sandford, Editor of QMT Magazine and chaired by Markus Fabich, Metrology Application Specialist, Olympus.
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