Introducing TESCAN Tempe, one of the key R&D facilities in TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING

Introducing TESCAN Tempe, one of the key R&D facilities in TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING

TESCAN Tempe has been part of the TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING group of companies for over seven years, quietly working out of an office in the heart of the Phoenix metropolitan area in Arizona. Few people outside of TEM R&D know what they do, and even fewer know the whole story of where they come from.

TESCAN Tempe office 

The roots of TESCAN Tempe go back to 1984 in Tempe, Arizona when Jon Karl (“JK”) Weiss started as a graduate student in Solid State Physics at Arizona State University (ASU). While at the National Center for High Resolution Electron Microscopy at ASU, the work that JK did on digital STEM imaging, parallel EELS, EDX and the first TEM CCD cameras led to him establish the company Emispec in 1993. He was joined shortly thereafter by longtime friend and former college roommate Doug Cosart and they created ES Vision, the first commercial system for integrated STEM imaging as well as for EELS and EDX spectrum imaging.

By the early 2000s, Emispec software, either as their standalone ES Vision system or as the embedded TIA, was standard issue on many new analytical TEM/STEMs. Emispec had worked closely with every microscope and detector manufacturer and had worked out the control and/or acquisition interface for more than 40 different models of TEMs, SEMs, EDX systems and CCD cameras.

When FEI Tempe closed, Doug, Steve and JK started Enoetic which created software that used machine learning to automatically classify digital photos based on their content. They quickly found out that marketing consumer software was not their thing, and it was at that time that they reconnected with Bruno Janssens, an old friend who had recently left FEI after having served as the General Manager of the NanoResearch and Industry Market Division. Steve, Doug, JK and Bruno founded AppFive in 2008 with the intention of providing consulting services in application development to scientific equipment manufacturers.
In early 2014, Stavros Nicolopolous, one of the founders of NanoMEGAS, had a meeting with Mr. Klima, during which Mr. Klima learned about the existence of AppFive. The value of AppFive’s TEM applications expertise was obvious for the new TEM development project in TESCAN, and the fit between the company cultures of TESCAN and AppFive was so good that a merger between AppFive and TESCAN was the next logical move. On August 1, 2014, AppFive became a part of the TOH group, and the following year AppFive was officially renamed TESCAN Tempe.

TESCAN Tempe houses SEM VEGA and the first prototype STEM

Today TESCAN Tempe still operates out of the same office that AppFive moved into in Tempe in 2011, with much of the same crew as in 2011. The office is centrally located only 3 miles (5 km) from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, one of the largest airports in the country, and about 1 mile (1.6 km) from Arizona State University, one of the largest university campuses in the country (more than 50,000 students with about 8,000 graduate students). Phoenix has all the amenities of a large city (metro population over 5,000,000), and many high-tech companies have large facilities in the area, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Intel, ON Semiconductor and Microchip, with TSMC due to set up a facility very soon. Phoenix is perhaps best known for its weather, especially the 300 sunny days per year.

The Tempe office is currently home to 6 developers and applications specialists. The office was custom built to be able to house up to three TEMs and/or SEMs. Currently, they have a VEGA SEM which is used for navigation development and testing, and the first prototype STEM which has been used for applications development for the past few years, and will be sent back to Brno for refurbishment.