Many modern science disciplines require cold temperatures close to the «absolute zero point» at -273°C, for applications such as superconductivity (e.g., used in medical scanning devices) or quantum computing. In cryo- TEM (transmission electron microscopy), a Nobel-prize winning research tool to study molecules/proteins (drug development) and materials, these temperatures can only be sustained within ca. 15 minutes. With this re- striction, scientists in low temperature cryo-TEM are slowed down in creating high-throughput scientific results. Our spin-off company, condenZero, invented a cooling technology to enable cryo-experiments to last 24 hours instead of 15 minutes.
Currently, condenZero builds an experimental system where the cryo-sample holder is combined with a sec- ondary product that shapes magnetic fields around the sample. Both products are crucial to enable the study of new materials with exotic magnetic properties, such as “skyrmions” – a quantum entity in atomic physics that promise data storage at much higher densities than ever before. Another research field is the study of magnetic nanoparticles for localized drug-delivery in the human body.
To operate both devices in this project, the electron microscope had to be modified. Such modifications are not feasible for almost all other users, making this solution unsuitable for widespread commercialization. With In- noBooster, we will be able to build an interim product that will be able to combine both strength of our devices into a single product: Revolutionary cooling capabilities and shaping magnetic fields in a cryo-TEM experiment. This will allow us to reach customers in research fields at the intersection of materials and life sciences without the necessity of modifying the microscope. In the first half of the GRS project, we finalized the 3D-models and fabricated key components as proof-of-concept studies. By end of 2022, we produced a first prototype cooling sample holder with 24 electrical contacts to power electromagnets in the sample space. Further R&D efforts are deployed in miniaturizing the magnetic coils.
For future prototype development and improving technical performance, condenZero just recently filed an Innosuisse project together with the EMPA and inspire AG. In 2023 new tests are planned with prototype pre-sales.
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 20.03.2023