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November 2015

NCEM Leaders Win Lab Lifetime Achievement Award

Uli Dahmen, Peter Denes and Kenneth Downing are the recipients of the 2015 Berkeley Lab Prize − Lifetime Achievement Award for their scientific advances and leadership in making Berkeley Lab among the world’s forefront centers for electron microscopy. Director Paul Alivisatos noted that Dahmen, Denes and Downing have been dominant forces in transmission electron microscopy for decades, well known for their advancements in materials science, electron detector development and structural biology respectively, making the Lab a global center for high-resolution imaging research.

Since 1981 Uli Dahmen has made key contributions to the atomic-scale microstructure of materials through his work at the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM), now a facility at the Molecular Foundry, becoming its Director in 1992. His efforts to develop aberration correction methods culminated in the record-breaking TEAM (Transmission Electron Aberration-corrected Microscope), which revolutionized high-resolution microscopy throughout the world. In addition to his impressive individual work, Dahmen is also recognized for the highly-productive research environment he fostered at NCEM.

Also at NCEM, Peter Denes pioneered the development of direct electron detectors for electron and x-ray microscopy. His focus on transmission electron microscopy (EM) revolutionized the detectors used to visualize macromolecules in cryo-EM through developing direct electron detectors. These detectors improve spatial resolution 100-fold, temporal resolution 1,000-fold, reveal atomic structure without the need for crystallization – and represent a revolution in the field. The medical and scientific imaging company Gatan now manufactures Denes’s detectors, with dozens deployed worldwide for structural biology, chemistry and materials science. Denes led the group that designed and constructed TEAM, which became the world’s highest resolution EM instrument in 2009 through advanced electron optics. TEAM was recognized with a Secretary of Energy Achievement Award.

Read the full press release.