Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)

The TEM is ideal for microscopy inside of cells and materials, or to find out the size and distribution of nanoparticles. The machine acts much like a standard slide microscope, but instead uses electro-magnets, an 80,000-volt light source, and a vacuum environment.

TEM Equipment

The lab has a JEOL 1010 TEM converted to digital viewing, and image acquisition. Images are collected with an Advanced Microscopy Techniques XR-100 Digital CCD system that has a greater dynamic range then standard TEM film, and provides good contrast even when viewing a live image of unstained biological materials. Saved images are 2624 X 2624 Tiffs. The TEM also has a +/- 60 degree goniometer, allowing the potential for tomography.

A Pelco Biowave microwave process oven is used for standard biological material prep, which can reduce the prep time to a fraction of standard bench procedures. In addition, a Memmert UFE 400 thermal process oven provides the steady temperatures needed to produce uniform, non-brittle LR White blocks for immuno-TEM procedures.

Two ultramicrotomes are available for sectioning- a Reichert OM U3, and a Leica Ultracut UCT which is housed on a TMC vibration isolation table. Glass knives can be made on the Reichert Knife maker, and once students are proven proficient at ultramicrotomy, the lab has diamond knives available for thin sectioning.

There is also a recently refurbished Ladd Vacuum Evaporator for making very fine grain carbon films, or for metal shadow casting of macromolecules.

TEM Preparation Techniques

In addition to standard thin sectioning techniques for biological samples, the lab is also equipped for the following techniques:

  • Negative staining
  • Metallic nanoparticle imaging
  • Tilt series for tomography or stereo pairs
  • Metal shadowing for imaging macromolecules
  • Processing power to generate 3-D models of biological materials at the EM level