Our researchers have developed software which is now established as the gold standard for modelling low-energy charge-particle optics. The Charged Particle Optics (CPO) software has helped customers design and develop products – including a mission-critical instrument for the International Space Station – worth more than £25 million over the past decade.
Electron-optical instruments have become standard equipment in industrial and academic research laboratories all over the world.
Analytic instruments using electrostatic and magnetic fields are widely used in industry and research to probe and analyse a range of samples. To model the behaviour and performance of these fields, researchers from the School of Physics and Astronomy developed the ‘Charged Particle Optics’ (CPO) software.
CPO is more accurate than conventional modelling software for low-energy charge-particle optics. It models both magnetic and electrostatic fields, can cope with electrodes of varying shapes and sizes, and enhances the mass resolution of mass spectrometers and the performance of electron lenses.. Consequently, CPO has become the gold standard for modelling charged particle optical instruments.
Members of the University of Manchester formed a spin-off company, Charged Particle Optics Ltd, to sell the software to manufacturers of scientific instruments and national laboratories. These manufacturers use the software to test high throughput analysis instruments prior to manufacture, saving them significant development time and expense.
Examples of CPO applications
To determine the shape and size of meshes which optimise ion beam transmission in a new ‘time-of-flight’ (TOF) spectrometer for analysing samples of imported prawns for banned chemicals
- Simulation of the space charge effects of electron emissions from cathodes to improve the design of electron probe micro-analysers, X-ray photoelectron spectrometers and various ion transmission components within mass spectrometers
- Simulation of an electron ionizer by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California for the design of a prototype gas chromatographic mass spectrometer system used to monitor the concentration of trace, toxic chemical gasses inside the International Space Station