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Electron Microscopy

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Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) allows the researcher to form images of thin slices or nano particles of samples at a resolution of down to 0.14 nm (lattice resolution). Crystal structure may be analyzed by means of electron diffraction, and chemical analysis, with a sensitivity (in ideal cases) of a few atoms and spatial resolution (again, in ideal cases) of about 0.5nm, may be performed by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) analysis or electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) analysis.

The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is a tool for visualizing the surface of solid samples, with a resolution (depending on the application) that can approach 1nm. Energy-dispersive X-ray analysis can be used to analyze volumes with dimensions of around 1 micron with a sensitivity of about 0.2wt%, while back-scattered electron imaging allows the visualization of regions of different composition. Crystallographic orientation and structure can be examined using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis, though sample preparation requirements for this technique are very stringent and limit the number of samples that can be studied in this way.


Patrick Boisvert, Research Specialist
Room 13-1018
Phone:  (617) 253-3317
Fax: (617) 258-6478

Dr. Shiahn Chen, Research Specialist
Room 13-1027
Phone:  (617) 253-4622
Fax: (617) 258-6478

Dr. Yong Zhang, Research Specialist
Room 13-1034
Phone:  (617) 253-5092
Fax: (617) 258-6478


Building 13, 1st floor (entrance via Room 1012). Please note: The EM facility cannot be accessed from all points of entry to the building. When entering from the front of Building 13: Do not enter the main lobby--turn right, walk to the end of the building, and turn left. Enter the through the black metal door. The door to the EM suite is straight ahead.

Instruments available:

Helios Nanolab 600 Dual Beam Focused Ion Beam Milling System (FIB)
Configured to carry out nano-scale characterization and nano-machining on a wide-range of materials from various study areas such as biotechnology, and materials and energy research. This instrument has magnetic immersion electron optics to give 0.9 nm resolution at 15kV. A high brightness field electron emitter can deliver a beam current up to 22 nA and the accelerating voltage from 350V to 30kV. The ion optics produces a resolution of 5.0 nm at 30KV and liquid Gallium emitter delivers 20 nA ion current and the voltage ranging from 0.5 kV to 30kV.

Transmission Electron Microscopes

FEI Tecnai Multipurpose TEM

The FEI Tecnai (G2 Spirit TWIN) is a high quality 120 kV multipurpose TEM, providing high resolution and good contrast. The high-resolution TWIN lens allows for imaging at both moderate and high magnification up to 0.36 nm point-to-point resolution & 0.2 nm lattice resolution. The digital TEM combines excellent performance with optimized ease-of-use for high resolution imaging, elemental analysis and mapping.

JEOL 2010 Advanced High Performance TEM
This instrument is an advanced, digitally controlled dedicated transmission electron microscope operating at 200KV with a lanthanum hexaboride cathode. It is capable of an ultimate point-to-point resolution of 0.19 nm, with the ability to image lattice fringes at 0.14 nm resolution.

JEOL 2010 FEG Analytical Electron Microscope
A multipurpose high resolution analytical electron microscope with high resolution image quality and high analytical performance, EDS X-ray analysis. The system is also equipped with a Gatan image filter (GIF) for EELS and energy filtered imaging, and a scanning image observation device (ASID), and 3 CCD cameras for various applications.

JEOL 2011 High Contrast Digital TEM
A high performance TEM with advanced features and functions. The electron gun allows high-brightness with filament-saving low emission current. Other features include friendly controls, automatic filament heating, high tilting 60 degree single tilting holder, cryo objective lens polepiece for characterizing soft materials, AMT digital imaging camera, and a transmission catholuminescence attachment.

Scanning Electron Microscopes

A high performance, extremely flexible and well-equipped microscope for general-purpose microscopy, low-vacuum and environmental scanning microscopy (ESEM). It is also equipped with a Peltier stage. Resolution at 30KV is 3.5 nm. The minimum magnification is about 20x.

JEOL 5910 General Purpose SEM
A general purpose digital SEM, with the following attributes: very easy to use, remotely accessible via the web, Bruker EDX system for elemental analysis and mapping, and NPGS system for electron beam lithography.


Five basic types of computing needs: image digitization. image simulation, image processing and analysis, utilities, and output devices.


This dark room is used primarily for the development of negatives generated from the use of the TEMs.

Specimen Preparation Equipment

The EM lab offers various equipments for specimen preparation with different techniques.

Zeiss Merlin High-resolution SEM
Zeiss Merlin high-resolution scanning electron microscope is a versatile electron beam characterization tool for semiconductor research, life and material sciences. It is capable of high resolution secondary electron imaging with a resolution of 0.8 nm at 15KV and 1.4 nm at 1 kV with in-lens secondary electron detector. It is also equipped with a retractable 4 Quads and an in-lens energy selective backscatter detectors for back-scattered electron imaging, an unique charge compensation system for imaging of non-conductive materials, and a scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) detector for studying of electron-transparent thin film samples. A software to reconstruct 3D surface topography is also available. Accessories include an EDS for X-ray microanalysis and elemental mapping and an EBSD for crystallographic texture study.



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