News Releases 2008

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September 30, 2008

Team of German Researchers to Receive Honda Prize 2008 for Their Achievement in Aberration-Corrected Transmission Electron Microscopy for High-Resolution Visualization of Atomic Structures

The Honda Foundation, co-founded by Soichiro Honda and his younger brother Benjiro Honda, and currently headed by Hiromori Kawashima, is pleased to announce the Honda Prize for the year 2008 will be awarded to a German team of researchers of electron microscopy led by Dr. Maximilian Haider, Dr. Harald Rose, and Dr. Knut Urban. Their team developed the world-first Atomic Electron Microscope, a type of transmission electron microscope (TEM)*1 capable of atomic-level imaging using aberration correction technology. The team will be the 29th laureate of the prize.

The basic theory of aberration correction for high-resolution imaging was introduced by Dr. Otto Scherzer of Germany in the 1940's. Many researchers attempted, but failed, its implementation as an aberration-corrected electron microscope; and experts had questioned its technical feasibility by the time the laureates, who thought otherwise, were teamed in 1989. The laureates refined the basic theory in light of materials science and combined it with electron optical engineering techniques to attain the mechanical stability required for electron microscopy. In 1997 they succeeded in making an aberration-corrected TEM that is capable of high-resolution imaging of atomic structures.

This aberration-corrected microscopic technology used for the TEM is now made available to microscope manufacturers in Germany, Japan and other countries through CEOS, a project spin-off company headed by Dr. Haider, to be distributed worldwide for its applications. The TEM has become one of the essential instruments for research and development on an atomic level. It is used not only to produce ultrafine particles for advanced, high-integrated semiconductor devices, but to analyze and examine the atomic arrangements, structures, and binding of various materials in industries like metallic engineering, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Many users expect new materials could be discovered and macroscopic properties could be analyzed at atomic levels by use of this technology.

In the research project, Dr. Rose has been chiefly responsible for the basic design of the corrector and the refinement of the theory of image formation, whereas Dr. Urban has worked for the application of the refined theory based on his expertise in materials science, and Dr. Haider has used his knowledge in electron optical engineering for the elaborate design and development of this new aberration-corrected technology. The Honda Foundation recognizes the three physicists for their spirit of challenge as well as substantial contributions to human life through their sophisticated technological achievement that we believe embodies the ethos of Ecotechnology.*2

The 29th award ceremony for the Honda Prize will be held at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo on Monday, November 17th 2008. In addition to the prize diploma and medal, a prize of 10 million yen will be awarded to the team of the laureates.

*1 Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)
A type of electron microscope which allows the user to determine the internal structure of materials on the image created by a beam of electrons being transmitted through an ultra thin specimen, interacting with the specimen as it passes through it.

*2 Ecotechnology
Honda Foundation's guiding principle since 1979 coined from ecology and technology, where ecology connotes the entire global system including human civilization. This technologic concept calls for harmonious development and use of technology with human beings and their environment.

Profile of 2008 Honda Prize Laureates

Profile of 2008 Honda Prize Laureates

Dr. Maximilian Haider

Born 23 January 1950, Freistadt, Austria

Pre-diploma examination, University of Kiel

  Continuation of Physics, Darmstadt University of Technology (TU Darmstadt)

Examination of Physics Diploma, TU Darmstadt, Prof. Rose

Career  1982

Scientist, group of Prof. Dr. H. Rose at Inst. of Applied Physics


Scientist, European Laboratory, Molecular Biology, Dr. A. V. Jones


Ph. D. to Dr. rer. nat. at the TU Darmstadt, Prof. Rose

  1989 Head of Group, Application of a Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope and development of Electron Microscopes

Head of research project: Cs-Correction of a 200 kV TEM


Managing Director, CEOS GmbH, Heidelberg

Dr. Harald H. Rose


14 February 1935, Bremen, Germany


Studies in Physics & Mathematics, TU Darmstadt


Master Degree in Physics and Ph. D. in Physics, TU Darmstadt



Post Doc. Position, Institute of Theoretical Physics, TU Darmstadt


Associate Professor, Institute of Applied Physics, TU Darmstadt


Principal Research Scientist, New York State Department of Health


Adjunct Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY


Professor of Physics, Institute of Applied Physics, TU Darmstadt


Visiting Professor, Physics, Jiaotong University Xian, China


Research Fellow, Materials Science, Argonne National Lab., Argonne IL


Research Fellow, Advanced Light Source, L. Berkeley National Lab.

Dr. Knut Wolf Urban

Born 1941, Stuttgart, Germany

Studied physics and Doctor Degree, natural sciences, Technical Univ. of Stuttgart


Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany

  Section de Recherche de Metallurgie Physique at CEN de Saclay/ Paris, France

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Bombay, India

  Institute for Advanced Materials Processing, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

Professor in Materials Science, University of Erlangen


Chair for Experimental Physics, RWTH Aachen University


Founded Institute for Microstructure Research, Research Centre Juelich


Founded Ernst Ruska Centre


President and Vice-president, German Physical Society