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FAQs and quick access

Ernst Ruska developed the first electron microscope in Berlin in 1931.

"The light microscope opened the 1st gate to microcosm. The electron microscope opened the 2nd gate to microcosm. What will we find opening the 3rd gate?" - Ernst Ruska

An electron microscope allows the direct imaging of objects with a very high resolution using an electron beam.

Similar to light microscopy, the resolution depends on the wavelength. By using electrons compared to visible light, the theoretical resolution limit in electron microscopy is ≤ 0.1 nm and is only limited by the biological properties of the objects.

There are two main types of electron microscopes: transmission electron microscopes (TEM) and scanning electron microscopes (SEM). A TEM allows the observation of thin sections of samples, with the electron beam penetrating the sample (comparable to the transmitted light microscope in light microscopy), while with SEM the surface structure of samples is imaged (comparable to the reflected light microscope in light microscopy).

Both the TEM and the SEM offer a wide range of analysis methods for topography, element distribution and crystal structure analysis. You can find out more from the contact persons for the initial consultation.

In general, every institution listed in our contacts can advise you on your project with regard to electron microscopy. However, you are also welcome to use the following direct contacts for an initial consultation:

For questions in the field of life sciences:

For questions in the field of materials science and natural sciences:

Of course, there is relevant basic literature in the field of electron microscopy. Here you will find a selection of literature for the areas relevant to ACEM.

Life sciences

Material and natural sciences

Your Acknowledgement matters. An acknowledgement in your publication is more than just a nice way to say Thank you.

It helps us to maintain operations. Showing to be part of the scientific community is one of the important measures to maintain funding and investments for core facilities.

It is about people in science too. The core facility personnel may have contributed significantly to your research project. Authorship may also be appropiate.

We ask you to use the following phrase in an acknowledgment section, whenever you got support from a core facility or simply used their instrumentation:

“We thank the [name of the Core Facility and University] in the context of the BUA Alliance Center for Electron Microscopy for support in acquisition (and analysis) of the data.”

If you would like to know more about the background of an acknowledgement for work done by a Core Facility, we recommend the following publication:

  • Kivinen, K. et. al. 2022. Acknowledging and citing core facilities - Key contributions to data lifecycle should be recognised in the scientific literature. EMBO Reports, DOI: 10.15252/embr.202255734