BIU Installs Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometer (RBS), first of its kind in Israel, to do nanometer-scale analysis of materials ranging from computer chips to fine art
Date: 2011-08-04 Hour: 9:29
A new RBS (Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometer), the first of its kind in Israel, has been acquired by the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanonoscience and Advanced Materials (BINA) at Bar-Ilan University. It has unique capabilities for the 3D analysis of the structure of materials and its installation constitutes a major upgrade in the analytical capabilities of the scientific community in Israel. The new spectrometer will provide scientists and engineers with a detailed view of the composition of complex materials and will allow them to extract (in a non-destructive fashion) structural information with a resolution of one billionth of a meter. Such capabilities have far-reaching implications ranging from the design of complex electronic and photonic devices to the detailed understanding of archeological artifacts and fine art.
The RBS, imported from the United States and installed at the BINA triplex, was acquired, in part, based on a successful research proposal submitted by a group of BIU researchers (Prof. Chaim Sukenik, Prof. Emeritus Aharon Gedanken, Prof. Doron Aurbach, and Prof. Yitzhak Mastai), to the Israel Science Foundation. The overall investment in acquiring and installing the accelerator and its infra-structure is over $1.5M.
Dr. Olga Girshevitz, head of the BINA Surface Analysis Facility, is the Senior Scientist directly responsible for the RBS. She says that "the new accelerator brings amazing new analytical capabilities to Bar Ilan. It is capable of reaching energies up to 5.1 Mega Electron Volts (MeV) and it has accessories and special detectors that enable a wide range of ion beam analysis experiments to be done." Dr. Girshevitz adds that "though there are a few other particle accelerators in Israel, BIU's new RBS is unique in its 3D materials analysis capabilities."
Particle accelerators use electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles at high speeds, to increase their energy and to emit the particles as a highly focused beam. The radiation produced by these high-energy particles finds many research applications. In the case of RBS, it is the beam itself that is the key to the various applications of the accelerator to problems in modern materials science. By measuring the direction and energy of the particles that are scattered by a solid sample, one can deduce the composition of the sample and the precise positions of the different kinds of atoms of which it is comprised. In this way, the structural details of complex multi-layered structures or of materials doped with small amounts of contaminants can be determined.