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Electron Microscopy Center


The IAMM Electron Microscopy Center provides electron and ion  microscopy for all researchers in the UT system, ORNL, and other institutions.

The facility is equipped with TEM, SEM/FIB and modern sample preparation for soft and solid materials. The facility is available on a self-use base and for service  requests.

Individuals or groups who wish to tour the Microscopy Center should contact to schedule and learn about any safety requirements. 

Neal Evans Facility Manager 865-974-6197
Gerd Duscher Scientific Leader 865-974-5319

TEM: Zeiss Libra200

The transmission electron microscope (TEM) at IAMM is located in SERF 101. This TEM is used for atomic and micro-scale investigations in materials science of solid and soft materials (polymers). It is also used for diagnostics in medical science and in research of biology and agriculture. Most applications are in imaging small features in cells or materials and tomographic investigations through tilt series at liquid nitrogen temperatures within the TEM. This microscope was specifically designed to enable chemical investigations on the atomic length scale. We can also map surface plasmons and band gaps with sub-nanometer resolution.

FIB: Zeiss Auriga Crossbeam FIB/SEM

The Zeiss Dual Beam FIB/SEM instrument is located in SERF 101. It is not only used as high-resolution Scanning electron microscope but can be used together with an scanning focused ion beam. Uses include TEM sample preparation and micro-machining. We can also slice and image successively to get tomographic 3D images of small objects from cells to proteins and nano-wires.

Sample Preparation

The sample prep lab at IAMM is equipped for standard sample preparation for transmission electron microscopy. The following instruments are available in SERF 101. There is additional equipment available for biological and polymer sample preparation.

Plasma Cleaner – Fischione

This instrument provides plasma that allows us to clean sample holders of the TEM and FIB and the samples themselves. An oxygen plasma is ignited and the cleaning process occurs at the periphery of this plasma.

Precision ION Mill – Gatan PIPS

This instrument thins TEM samples without contact by bombarding it with fast (1-6kV) Argon ions. This ion mill produces a small hole in the TEM sample wth the rim thin enough to be electron transparent in the transmission electron microscope

Dimpling Grinder – Fischione

A thin section of a sample is placed at the table of this dimpler. The grinding wheel and the table rotate. The sample is thereby thinned in a small dimple to a few tens of micrometer.

Leica Ultramicrotome EM UC7

This piece of equipment provides easy preparation of semi and ultrathin sections, as well as perfect, perfect smooth surfaces of biological and industrial samples for TEM, SEM, AFM and LM examination. It also has an attachable cryochamber for materials too soft to be sectioned at room temperature.

Leica Mill EM TRIM2

This is a high-speed milling system with an integrated stereomicroscope and LED ring illuminator for trimming of biological and industrial samples prior to ultramicrotomy.

Allied Multiprep Polisher

The MultiPrep System enables precise semi-automatic sample preparation of a wide range of materials for microscopic (optical, SEM, FIB, TEM, AFM, etc.) evaluation.

Allied Techcut 4 Slow Speed Saw

This is a low-speed saw excellent for cutting smaller, delicate samples that cannot tolerate excessive friction and heat caused by high speed sectioning.

Plunge Freezer – Gatan

This plunge freezer enables to freeze TEM samples quickly to liquid nitrogen temperatures. The environmental chamber allows to first equilibrate the sample to a controlled hydration state, and then cool it down fast to cytostatic temperatures for investigation in the cryo-TEM.

Assisted help is billed in addition to the regular instrument rate. Rates for instrument time indicate self-use. Any operation of the instrument by staff will incur an additional chare for staff assistance. If staff assistance will be required that time must be booked in advance of reserving instrument time. Please contact Neal Evans for assistance requests. 

Rates include usages of Includes usage of ultramicrotome, mutiprep, ion polishing system, dimpler, diamond saw and consumables except diamond lapping paper. Diamond lapping paper is sold by the facility at cost price.


Internal Academic

External Academic

On-Campus Commercial

External Commercial

Service 1: Auriga FIB/SEM





Service 2: Libra TEM Unassisted





Service 3: Zeiss EVO SEM





Service 4: Cypher AFM





Service 5: iMicro Nanoindenter





Service 6: Assistance/Analysis





Service 7: Sample Prep





User rates subject to change without notice.

Existing users may book time via Stratocore. New users contact Neal Evans.