Electron Microscopy

The innovative electron microscopy (IEM) group is open for joint research projects with industrial partners. Our strength is in helping to find solutions for problems requiring advanced electron microscopy. We operate in three areas:

  • Development of novel electron microscopy methods. Prof. Niels de Jonge has pioneered the technology for electron microscopy of specimens in liquid. An on-going collaboration exists with the small US business Protochips Inc., NC, USA. A microfluidic system was developed containing microchips with electron transparent windows to place a liquid specimen in the vacuum chamber of the electron microscope. The group also develops approaches for correlative fluorescence and electron microscopy of biological materials in liquid. Thirdly, we are developing methods for three-dimensional electron microscopy as alternative to tilt-series tomography, involving focal-series acquisition, and computation.
  • Biological sciences. Prof. Niels de Jonge and biologist Dr. Diana Peckys are developing ground breaking new technology for the study of macromolecules or vesicles in whole cells in liquid. Eukaryotic cells in hydrated state are studied either with scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) of liquid specimens using a microfluidic chamber, or with environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) using a STEM detector. Liquid STEM offers much of the functionality of light microscopy combined with the high resolution of electron microscopy. This groundbreaking technology will potentially benefit the field of proteomics, cell biology, nano-biotechnology, and help to battle diseases, such as cancer, and virus infections.
  • Energy sciences. The state-of-the-art equipment of the group is available for the nano-scale characterization of energy materials. Materials used for the storage of electrical energy can be studied under their operating conditions, for example, in liquid and in the presence of an electric field. What happens in these materials at close proximity to a liquid:solid interface is often different than he behavior in bulk. The development of future technology requires fundamental understanding at the nanoscale.

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