Electron microscopes

electron microscope image
5 nm pentagonal nickel nanoparticles, imaged using Transmission Electron Microscopy. Each nanoparticle shows 5-fold symmetry.

The electron microscope suite at Victoria University consists of two scanning electron microscopes and a transmission electron microscope, as well as various tools for sample preparation. These preparation tools include carbon, platinum, gold and other sample coaters, and an ion beam thinner.

Scanning electron microscopes

JEOL 6500F

The JEOL 6500F is a superior instrument for use in nanotechnology, materials science and biology. This field emission scanning electron microscope offers high resolution as well as a high stability and current, in a small spot size. It also offers the ability to generate high x-ray fluxes, enabling chemical analysis at high resolution conditions.

The instrument is fitted with a Gatan cryo unit for examination of biological samples and other hydrated materials by stabilising them under the beam at a low temperature. The unit also allows the fracture of materials which are soft at room temperature - exposing their internal microstructure and enabling the analysis of components and phases in systems such as emulsions and suspensions.

The specifications for the JEOL 6500F are:

  • Resolution: ~ 5.0 nm
  • Magnification: 10x-500,000x
  • Image modes: secondary electron image (SEI) and backscattered electron image (BEI)
  • Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and elemental mapping capability
  • Acceleration voltage: 0.5-30 kV
  • Specimen size: up to 150 mm in diameter
  • 5 axis motor stage control: x, y, z, tilt


This JEOL JSM-5300LV scanning electron microscope is a low vacuum system which enables the examination of a wider range of materials than is possible with high vacuum systems.

Structural studies of materials such as composites and engineering materials can be undertaken using this microscope. The range of materials that can be analysed is extended by the ability to examine uncoated samples in low vacuum mode. This is advantageous in that non-conductive materials such as polymers and ceramics can be studied without any pre-treatment that might alter the sample. Also, highly outgassing samples, such as those that might still contain traces liquids, can be easily analysed.

Additionally, in low vacuum mode the radiation damage to samples is minimised, enabling the examination of biological samples and other radiation sensitive materials such as paints and varnishes.

The specifications of the JEOL JSM-5300LV are as follows:

  • Resolution: 10-20 nm
  • Magnification: high vacuum mode 15x-200,000x, low vacuum mode 15x-50,000x
  • Image modes: secondary electron image (SEI) and backscattered electron image (BEI)
  • Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) capability
  • Acceleration voltage: 0.5-30 kV
  • Specimen size: up to 76 mm in diameter

Transmission electron microscope

JEOL 2010

The JEOL 2010 transmission electron microscope (TEM) is a high resolution analytical microscope that is  mainly used for materials research and the study of nanoparticulate samples. Its superior point-to-point resolution of 0.15 nm makes this instrument ideal for imaging samples on the atomic scale. The instrument is capable of conventional, dark field and high resolution TEM as well as energy dispersive spectroscopy, selected area electron diffraction, nanobeam diffraction and convergent beam diffraction.

The microscope is equipped with both a plate camera and a digital camera. The digital camera is a Gatan Peltier cooled CCD camera fitted below the viewing chamber, making low intensity, high resolution, real-time imaging and filming possible.

In addition to regular single- and double-tilt holders, a heating stage holder and a beryllium double-tilt holder (for optimised EDS analysis) are available.

The specifications of the JEOL 2010 are:

  • Resolution: ~0.15 nm
  • Magnification: 10x-8,000,000x
  • Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) capability
  • Acceleration voltage: 200 kV
  • Specimen tilt range: ± 25°
  • CCD camera resolution: 1024x1024 pixels