Electron Microscopy Unit

Unit Leader: Belén Ballesteros

ICN2 Electron Microscopy Unit 2023

Unit Leader

Belén Ballesteros


Dr Belén Ballesteros earned her degree in Chemistry with Honours at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in 2001, before going on to obtain her PhD in 2006 at the Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC).

During her doctoral studies, she undertook research stays at various European universities, including Universiteit Twente (Netherlands), Universitetet i Oslo (Norway), University of St Andrews (UK) and Universidad de la Laguna (Spain). In July 2006 she began postdoctoral work at the University of Oxford, where she worked in electron microscopy imaging and the nanoanalysis of carbon nanotubes, inorganic nanotubes and related materials. She has led the ICN2 Electron Microscopy Unit since April 2009.

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Main research lines

  • Use of electron microscopy techniques for nanoscience and nanotechnology research and applications

  • Scientific-technical support for both internal ICN2 research groups and external scientists and companies

  • Study of the structure and chemistry of functional carbon nanotubes and graphene

  • Exploration of 2D layered inorganic nanotube systems

  • Electron microscopy studies of the interaction of nanomaterials and biological entities


The ICN2 Electron Microscopy Unit focuses on the use of electron microscopy techniques for nanoscience and nanotechnology research and applications. The main aim of the Unit is to provide scientific-technical support to the ICN2 research lines and to external scientists and private companies, as well as developing and implementing novel techniques. The laboratory has active collaborations with other research institutions and is becoming increasingly involved in European networks, such as the NFFA project. It provides researchers and students an extensive range of processing services to help them carry out their research activities.


The ICN2 Electron Microscopy facilities are located in the basement of the ICN2 building and the ALBA Synchrotron.


Electron Microscopy Unit facility map

Lab -1012: Thermo Fisher Scientific Helios 5 UX FIB-SEM
Lab -1014: FEI Tecnai G2 F20 HR(S)TEM
Lab -1016: FEI Magellan 400L XRSEM
Lab -1018 & Lab -1020: Sample preparation facilities
Lab -1022: FEI Quanta 650F ESEM


JEMCA facility map

Lab EM02: Thermo Fisher Scientific Spectra 300 double-corrected (S)TEM


Feder - SO - Generalitat

The ICN2 Electron Microscopy Unit has received funds from the European Regional Development Fund through calls from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, and the Generalitat de Catalunya Regional Ministry of Economy and Knowledge. Besides, we have been supported by the Severo Ochoa Programme, granted by the back then Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

CERCAGINYS is the access platform to the around 200 facilities of all the 41 CERCA institutes.