Focus On: Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)

Focus On: Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)

Nov 06, 2013

Did you know that RCI’s University Instrumentation Center (UIC) is home to the electron microscope facility in Kendall Hall that houses a Zeiss/LEO 922Ω Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)? 

In TEM microscopy, a beam of electrons is transmitted through an ultra-thin specimen.  An image is formed from this interaction and is magnified and focused onto a fluorescent screen or detected by a sensor for a CCD camera.  Because a TEM uses a beam of electrons rather than a beam of photons, it is capable of imaging a specimen in fine detail many thousands of times smaller than the smallest resolvable object in an optical microscope. Samples must be thoroughly dried, ultra-thin, and no larger than 3mm in diameter.

The transmission electron microscope is a major analysis tool in both physical and biological scientific fields. TEMs are used in a variety of applications including cancer research, virology, materials science, pollution research, and nanotechnology.  The UIC’s instrument is available for research, educational, and industrial applications.

Our TEM is used by industrial clients on many different projects.  These include research on the use of magnetic nanoparticles to target drug delivery in cancer therapy and research into polymer-based paints, coatings, adhesives, and sealants.

Examples of UNH researchers who use the TEM include: 

  • Dr. Xiaowei Teng’s group in Chemical Engineering, studying the structure of electrode materials for electrochemical super capacitors.
  • Dr. Erik Berda’s group in the Department of Chemistry, working on the design and synthesis of shape persistent polymeric nanostructures from single polymeric chains.
  • Dr. John Tsavalas’s and Dr. Don Sundberg’s Nanostructure Polymers Research Center and Material Science Program, with an emphasis on polymer colloids.
  • Dr. Dale Barkey’s group in Chemical Engineering, working on manufacturing silver nanowires and silver nanoparticles with and without an agglomeration of tin.

Analytical Instrumentation Scientist Nancy Cherim oversees the electron microscope facility and is available to provide demonstrations, teach sample preparation, and run samples.  Nancy can be reached at 603-862-2182 and at

Sunflower protein

Image Caption:  Protein crystal in a cell of a sunflower leaf (x10,000)

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