Electron Microscopy Unit

Unit Leader: Belén Ballesteros


The Electron Microscopy Unit provides a comprehensive and versatile instrumentation to prepare, visualize and analyse a wide variety of samples by electron microscopy.

Comprising an environmental SEM (ESEM), an extreme resolution SEM and a high resolution (S)TEM, our state-of-the-art electron microscopes are capable of obtaining high resolution morphological, structural and elemental information of the samples.

Besides, the Unit has the required set of tools (sputter coater, diamonds saws, precision polisher, ion mill, among others) to perform the appropriate preparation to the samples prior to their observation by electron microscopy.

  • FEI Magellan 400L XHR SEM

    The Magellan 400L is a Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope equipped with a newly developed electron column with a monochromator, UC (UniColore) Technology. This microscope features excellent capabilities in the more traditional high energy (15-30 kV) SEM and STEM imaging, but also has an outstanding performance at low beam energies with subnanometer resolution for unmatched surface sensitive imaging.

    The recently attached X-Max Ultim Extreme EDX (Oxford Instruments) converts this microscope in a unique tool, as it allows an ultrafast compositional nanoanalysis and mapping with an unprecedented sensitivity and energy resolution, even for light elements such as lithium.

  • FEI Quanta 650FEG ESEM

    The Quanta 650 FEG is a versatile Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope which provides high resolution imaging at high vacuum, low-vacuum and also extended vacuum (environmental SEM or ESEM) for the characterization of all type of samples (conductive, non-conductive and wet samples) and performing in-situ dynamic experiments. This microscope features a large chamber with the capacity of analyzing up to 16 samples at the same time and compatible with 8 inches wafers.

  • FEI Tecnai G2 F20 S-TWIN HR(S)TEM

    The FEI Tecnai G2 F20 is a 200kV field emission gun (FEG) high resolution and analytical TEM/STEM. It is ideal for applications requiring high coherency, high brightness at high magnification, or small focused probes. It is a versatile and flexible microscope and combines high performance in TEM and STEM modes with ease of operation in a multi-user research environment.

  • High Vacuum Sputter Coater - LEICA ACE 600

    The sputter coater Leica EM ACE600 is a high vacuum film deposition system that produces very thin, fine-grained and conductive metal and carbon coatings for highest resolution analysis, as required for FE-SEM and TEM applications. It can be configured for the following methods: Sputtering Pt or Au and Carbon thread evaporation. Coating thicknesses range from 2 nm to tens of nanometers.

  • Optical Microscope - LEICA DM 2700 M

    The Leica DM 2700 M optical microscope combines high-quality Leica optics with state-of-the-art universal white light LED illumination in both transmitted and reflected light modes. It is an ideal inspection tool for all kinds of routine inspection tasks in metallography, materials quality control, earth science and research. Our system has 5X, 10X, 20X and 50X achromatic objectives with a 10X eyepiece that allows us to acquire images at 50X, 100X, 200X and 500X magnification.

  • Plasma cleaner – Fischione 1020

    The Fischione 1020 plasma cleaner automatically and quickly removes organic contamination (hydrocarbon) from electron microscopy specimens and specimen holders. The high-frequency plasma is generated with a gas mixture of 25% oxygen and 75% argon.

  • Precision Diamond Wire Saw - Well 3242

    The Precision Diamond Wire Saw Well 3242 produce smooth, sharp-edged surfaces on almost any cut material. The cutting tool employed is a stainless steel wire with diamonds embedded into the surface of the wire. It uses gravity and/or weights as the method for achieving and maintaining consistent feed rates. Also, it has a continuously variable wire speed adjustment. A slotted table enables the operator to position the sample in both axis while the sample holder rotates throughout 360 degrees for proper orientation of the proper cutting axis.

  • Precision Disc Saw - Struers Minitom

    The low-speed precision disc saw Minitom can be used to section all types of mineralogical and ceramic specimens. The cutting speed is continuously variable as well as cutting pressure. Many sample holders are available to cut all types of samples.

  • Precision Ion Polishing System - Gatan PIPS (model 691)

    The Precision Ion Polishing System (PIPSTM) is a precision ion polisher designed to produce high quality TEM specimens with minimal effort. Emphasizing ease of use, the PIPS features full manual control, making it reliable to operate and easy to maintain.

  • Precision Polishing System - Allied Multiprep (TM)

    The MultiPrepTM is a precision polishing system that enables precise semiautomatic sample polishing of a wide range of materials for microscopic (optical, SEM, FIB, TEM, AFM, etc.) evaluation. Capabilities include parallel polishing, angle polishing, site-specific polishing or any combination thereof. Dual micrometers (pitch and roll) allow precise sample tilt adjustments relative to the abrasive plane. A rigid Z-indexing spindle maintains the predefined geometric orientation throughout the grinding/polishing process.