Electron Microscopy encompasses a number of imaging techniques which use a focused beam of electrons to produce an image, rather than using visible light. Electron microscopy allows for imaging at much higher resolution, with far greater depth of focus than can be achieved using optical methods.

The MC² Facility has two Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) and one Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). The SEMs produce high resolution images of sample surfaces, whilst the TEM images through the sample.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

Discover our newest upgrade in electron microscopy instrumentation.

Hitachi SU3900 Large chamber, variable pressure SEM

This microscope allows easy, intuitive operation, with a specimen chamber that is able to accommodate large samples, and a motorised stage allowing quick and easy specimen positioning. Variable pressure mode enables samples normally unstable in a high vacuum environment, or that have a tendency to charge, to be examined. Pharmaceutical particles, fibres and electronic components may be characterised without coating. A high sensitivity backscattered electron detector is fitted for compositional imaging.

Features include:

  • Variable pressure mode - for charging, uncoated and out-gassing samples.
  • Backscattered electron detector for compositional and topographic imaging.
  • Oxford Instruments AzTec 170 mm² energy dispersive X-ray analyser (EDX) - mapping, line scan, point ID and quantitative analysis.
  • Magnifications up to 30,000x.
  • Large sample chamber (up to 30 cm diameter and 13 cm height).
  • Fully automated stage controls.


This field emission scanning electron microscope allows for high resolution imaging. Features include:

  • Magnifications up to 500,000x.
  • Imaging at low accelerating voltages of 0.01-5 kV.
  • Resolution of 0.7 nm at 1 kV and 0.6 nm at 15 kV.
  • In-lens secondary electron and electron detectors allow secondary and backscattered electrons to be detected at very short working distances (up to 2 mm working distance).
  • A 4 quadrant sensitive in-chamber backscatter detector allows backscattered electron to be detected at 800 V and higher accelerating voltages.
  • STEM detector to allow up to 12 TEM samples to be looked at in the SEM.
  • Samples up to 4 inches can be inserted into the FE-Sem via the airlock.
  • 2 EDX detectors.
  • Quorum PP3010T Cryo system to view beam sensitive samples at low temperature causing less damage to them.

Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

Our JEOL JEM-2100Plus instrument is a multi-purpose transmission electron microscope, combining a JEM-2100 optical system with an advanced control system for enhanced ease of operation. Features include:

  • 200 kV maximum operating voltage.
  • LaB6 electron gun for excellent performance with reasonable running costs.
  • ‘TEM Centre’ control software - an intuitive user interface designed to maximize ease of operation.
  • A digital Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM) system fully integrated into the TEM, and BF & HAADF detectors.
  • Oxford Instruments large area EDX detector and Aztec analysis software for high resolution elemental mapping.
  • A high tilt angle sample holder to enable electron tomography.

Ion Milling and Sample Preparation

We also offer a service of ion milling and other sample preparation in MC².