Electron Microscopy Service (EMS)

The Electron Microscopy Service (EMS) is a central facility offering access to scanning (SEM), transmission (TEM) and scanning transmission (STEM) electron microscopes on a pay-per-use basis. Investigators are encouraged to learn how to operate the instrumentation themselves, however, the EMS staff are available to carry out experiments for those investigators who only occasionally require electron microscopy service. The EMS instrumentation is also available to investigators from outside UIC.


Electron microscopes use a fine beam of electrons to either image the surface of a specimen (SEM) or, if the specimen is thin enough (less than about 0.1micrometer), to look at the internal structure (TEM/STEM). The interaction of the beam with the specimen also produces X-rays which are characteristic of the specimen and can be collected using an X-Ray Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (XEDS)to give compositional information. In the TEM or STEM the transmitted beam can also be analysed by Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) to give compositional and electronic state information.

Instrumentation includes four TEMs for materials science applications, a TEM for life science applications, two SEMs used by both life science and materials science users, a Surface Analyzer (XPS - X-Ray Photon Spectroscopy) and a Raman Spectrometer (vibrational spectroscopy). Equipment for life science specimen preparation includes shadowing/coating and ultramicrotomy. Equipment for materials science specimen preparation includes coating, slicing, disc cutting, polishing, ultramicrotomy, electrochemical polishing and ion beam milling.

The TEMs for material science are a JEOL JEM-ARM200CF TEM/STEM with cold field emission source, CEOS probe aberration corrector, Gatan digital cameras, Oxford Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (XEDS) and Gatan Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS), a JEOL JEM-3010 with Gatan digital cameras and Thermo-Noran XEDS, a VG Microscopes HB601UX dedicated STEM with cold field emission source, Nion probe aberration corrector and Gatan EELS and a JEOL JEM-100CX II for teaching and training. The TEM for life science is a JEOL JEM-1220 fitted with a Gatan digital camera. The JEM-1220 was installed in 1997, the JEM-3010 in 1998 and the JEM-ARM200CF in 2011. The JEM-100CX and VG HB601UX were acquired used.

The two SEMs are both fitted with XEDS and have digital imaging capabilities. One is a JEOL JSM-6320F high resolution Field Emission SEM with Thermo Noran XEDS, and the other a Hitachi S-3000N Variable Pressure-SEM with Oxford XEDS, which allows non-conducting specimens to be observed without coating with a conductive film in the VP-mode. The JSM-6320F was installed in 1997 and the S-3000N in 2000.

The Surface Analyzer is a Kratos AXIS-165 XPS. The Raman Spectrometer is from Renishaw and has a Leica LM optical microscope with a CCD camera.

In addition specific research groups operate a Veeco GEN-II Oxide Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) instrument and a high vacuum Omnicron VT-SPM scanning probe microscope within EMS which are available to other research groups.