The Art of SEM Imaging
The Leipzig Panometer displays changing visual panoramas inside a former gasometer and was created by the Austrian-born artist Yadegar Asisi, who also named the building as a portmanteau of “panorama” and “gasometer”. Each panorama is accompanied by a thematic exhibition. From January 26th 2019 the exhibition “Carolas Garden” is shown. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey to the foreign world of the microcosm. From the perspective of a grain of pollen, visitors can observe a giant bee as it pollinates the flower and discover the universe behind a flower calyx. A familiar world unfolds as if under a gigantic microscope. The depicted world around is one hundred times its real size.
The scientific photographer Stefan Diller took part in this by generating scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of the bee and the chamomile blossom: “A technically very complex project, which in the end was perfectly presented in the Rotunda of the Panometer. The honey bee sitting on the chamomile blossom is probably the largest printed image derived from scanning electron microscopy data”, says Diller.
It is one of the world’s largest 360° cycloramas with a dimension of 110 x 32 m sublimation printed on thirty-seven polyester sheets. The image data used for these gigantic prints needed to be extremely detailed. Therefore, conventional macro photography cannot be used because the image resolution is simply not high enough. Instead, Stefan Diller used a scanning electron microscope (TESCAN MIRA3 FE-SEM) equipped with a multi detector setup and a SmarAct SEM stage.
SmarAct’s eight-axis SEM piezo stage was used to position the motifs precisely under the SEM’s objective lens while recording the many tiles necessary to create the stitched image. The stage offers three axis of rotation and five translational degrees of freedom to position the SEM sample with nanometer precision under the electron lens.
Customized SEM Sample Stage
This SEM sample stage with eight degrees of freedom consists of several SLC 17 linear stages combined with two rotation stages allowing an eucentric rotation of the specimen.