KAUST and FEI establish center of excellence

KAUST and FEI announce a collaboration agreement to establish a new Center of Excellence located at the KAUST Research & Technology Park on the University’s campus.


KAUST and FEI, a company that designs, manufactures and supports a broad range of high-performance microscopy workflow solutions, have announced a collaboration agreement to establish a new Center of Excellence located at the KAUST Research & Technology Park on the University’s campus.

KAUST has recently purchased electron microscopy equipment from FEI, including a Titan Themis™ transmission electron microscope (TEM) and a Helios™ G4 DualBeam, as well as upgrades for the University’s existing Titan Krios™ cryo-TEM. These new systems, which will ship in late 2016, will be added to the existing 17 electron FEI microscopes at KAUST. The three-year agreement with the company also involves FEI support staff on-site.

“This long-term strategic collaboration began in 2009 with the first shipment of equipment, and is important to FEI and KAUST and to the entire country of Saudi Arabia,” said Trisha Rice, vice president and general manager of the Materials Science Business at FEI. “It is an integral part of the country’s overall plan to build a strong infrastructure of scientific research that benefits humanity world-wide. We anticipate the agreement to be mutually beneficial as we exchange vital information and knowledge that will help us to develop application-specific workflows and further advance our technology.”

”This agreement officiates KAUST and FEI’s recommitment to build a strong relationship and valuable strategic partnership to achieve our common goals in the advancement of high-performance imaging technologies. This collaboration is the first implementation of the University’s strategic initiative to build a long-term partnership with its major instrument suppliers to help us carry out our mission in providing state-of-the-art research facilities, training and services to our users,” said Dr. Justin Mynar​, director of KAUST Core Laboratories and Major Facilities.​

The new KAUST center will feature some of the most advanced electron microscopy systems installed on-site. The Titan Themis TEM extends FEI’s leadership position in aberration-corrected, atomic-scale imaging and analysis, and is used by materials scientists to understand relationships between a material’s larger-scale physical properties and its atomic-scale composition and structure. The Titan Themis platform enables direct measurements of properties such as magnetic fields on the nanometer-length scale and electric fields even down to the atomic scale.

The Helios G4 DualBeam Series features FEI’s most advanced scanning electron microscope (SEM) and focused ion beam (FIB) technology and a new level of automation and ease-of-use. It is FEI’s flagship DualBeam system, and it is equipped with the latest hardware and software to help materials scientists obtain the highest quality subsurface and 3-D information at the nanometer scale.

FEI’s Titan Krios is a highly automated cryo-TEM designed specifically to enable structural biologists to study the structure and function of cells, viruses and protein assemblies at the molecular sub-nanometer scale. FEI’s recent technological advancements in the microscope design and imaging hardware, along with enhanced image processing and automation, have helped to rapidly increase the technique’s adoption by leading structural biologists worldwide. Established methods for structure determination, such as X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, are now routinely integrated with cryo-EM density maps to achieve atomic-resolution models of complex dynamic molecular assemblies.

“The suite of electron microscopes at the KAUST is one of the most advanced in the world,” Rice noted. “We anticipate that our collaboration will help KAUST to further scientific research in the areas of chemistry/catalyst research, nanoparticles and life sciences by gaining continual access to the latest characterization techniques, hardware and software available on the market.”