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Electron Probe Instrumentation Center (EPIC)

The Electron Probe Instrumentation Center (EPIC) EPIC facility offers a wide range of electron microscopy (both transmission and scanning), accessory instrumentation, and expertise to the scientific and engineering community through education, collaboration, and service. The laboratory provides facilities for the preparation and examination of many types of bulk and thin specimens (foils/films), fine particles, and replicas, including biological materials, by transmission and scanning electron microscopy.

Collectively, the Electron Probe Instrumentation Center (EPIC) offers instrumentation, techniques, and expertise for all aspects of microstructure materials. Detailed information about surface morphology, size and shape analysis, local chemistry, crystallography, and texture can be obtained with the scanning electron microscopes (SEM). The SEM facility has four SEMs with digital image acquisition, including three equipped with field emission gun (FEG), and several have EDS systems. The transmission electron microscopes (TEM) allow researchers to probe the crystal structure, defects, local chemistry, electronic structure, and related information at the nanometer or less length scale. The TEM facility currently has three TEMs, one cold field emission gun (cFEG) (HF2000), one Schottky field emission gun (JEM2100F), and one thermal emission gun (H8100). All three microscopes are equipped with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) system for local chemistry analysis; two are equipped with Gatan Imaging Filter (GIF) for spectral imaging and EELS analysis. Both FEG microscopes are equipped with STEM detectors. The JEOL JEM2100F FEG TEM/STEM has sub 0.2nm probe capability, equipped with high-angle annular dark field (HAADF) detector, which gives atomic resolution of Z-contrast imaging of STEM.

Both SEM and TEM facilities are equipped with specialized specimen stages for dynamic studies involving deformation, fracture, current transport, applied electrical and magnetic fields, and temperature variation from -184 ° C to 1000 ° C. The diversity and quality of SEM and TEM instrumentation, along with the numerous analytical accessories, makes EPIC one of the most advanced laboratories in the country.

Facility Type: 


  1. FEI Helios Nanolab SEM/FIB

    This dual-beam FIB/SEM allows simultaneous FIB milling and SEM imaging and is equipped with a STEM detector, Bruker Quantax SDD EDS detector, Omniprobe AutoProbe and Kleindiek nanomanipulation system. Capable of subnanometer SEM resolution at 15kV, <1.5nm at 1kV. The high current Sidewinder FIB column provides 5nm resolution at 30kV and low energy milling capabilities.

  2. FEI Quanta ESEM
    • Schottky field emission gun for high resolution and excellent beam stability
    • Allows for true SE imaging of wet, insulating samples up to 4000Pa chamber pressure
    • Standard E-T SE detector, solid-state BSE detector, 2 gaseous SE detectors and a gaseous BSE detector
    • Resolution of <2nm @ 30kV in high vacuum, <2nm @ 30kV in ESEM and <3.5nm @ 3kV in Low Vacuum mode
    • Automatic, programmable stage with 6” wafer capacity
    • Integrated Oxford EDS system
  3. Hitachi H-8100 TEM
    • 75kV to 200kV thermionic emission (W hairpin filament)
    • Large specimen tilt (+/- 45 degrees) pole piece -In situ heating experiments with a heating stage (up to 900 degrees)
    • A cryo-TEM with a cryo-holder (down to -170 degrees)
    • High quality Gatan TV rate CCD camera for imaging (down to 0.5 nm resolultion) and diffraction (large tilting with a Gatan double tilt holder)
    • Operation at low kV (75 and 100 kV) for soft- and bio-materials and 200 kV for inorganic materials
    • CBED, nanodiffraction capabilities -Hollow-Cone Illumination
  4. Hitachi HD-2300A STEM
    • High brightness FEG operated at 80, 120 and 200 kV
    • Ultra-sensitive dual-EDS capability, compatible with cryogenic specimen holder and low kV (80,120) operation
    • Gatan Enfina EELS system
    • Secondary electron detector for SE imaging
    • Multiple STEM imaging modalities (BF, ADF, HAADF), down to ~ 0.23 nm
    • Gatan Cryo-TEM holder and transfer system
    • Low-dose operation mode
    • Gatan diffraction CCD for nano-diffraction with a full-space tilting rotation holder
  5. Hitachi S-3400N-II
    • This variable pressure SEM with a tungsten filament is capable of imaging and analysis of pristine materials.
    • This unit is equipped with an ESED II detector (for low vacuum SE imaging), Oxford INCAx-act SDD EDS and a Gata MonoCL cathodoluminescence system.
    • Large specimen chamber (up to 8 diameter specimens, 85mm in height)
    • 5 axes motorized, computer eucentric stage
    • 5 segment BSE detector (3D reconstruction capability)
    • Infrared chamber scope
    • TMP pumped
    • New software with signal mixing, image management
  6. Hitachi S-4800-II
    • 1.4nm resolution at 1kV with beam deceleration
    • 1.0nm resolution at 15kV -Super ExB filter allows low kV, high res, BSE imaging and energy filtering
    • Large 5axis computer eucentric stage (110mm x 110mm)
    • STEM detector for bright and dark field STEM imaging TMP pumped
    • Infrared chamberscope and 6 specimen exchange airlock
  7. Hitachi SU8030
    • cold field emission technology -double condenser optics ensures not only the highest resolution;
    • full control on probe currents from 1pA to over 5nA - ideal for both, observation of even the most sensitive specimens, but also for elemental analysis (EDX) where today's SDD detectors easily will achieve several 10000 counts per second. 
    • a large specimen chamber
    • equipped with the triple detector super ExB system
    • Oxford X-max 80 SDD EDS detector
    • standard Everhart-Thornley SE detector
  8. JEOL JEM-2100F Fast TEM
    • Analytical Scanning Transmission Atomic Resolution (A STAR) Electron Microscope
    • High brightness Schottky FEG emitter operated at 200kV -0.1 nm lattice resolution in HRTEM mode
    • 0.2 nm spatial resolution in STEM and analytical mode
    • HAADF STEM detector, Oxford EDS system and Gatan GIF system for atomic resolution Z-contrast imaging, sub-nanoscale resolution
    • EDS and EELS point analysis, and automated line scans and maps
    • Gatan double-tilt heating stage (up to 1100 degrees)
  9. LEO Gemini 1525
    • Schottky field emission gun for high resolution and excellent beam stability
    • Large specimen chamber capable of imaging up to a 6" wafer -Spatial resolution of 1.5nm at 20kV and 3.5nm at 1kV
    • High probe current with stability better than 0.5% per hour. Variable from 4pA to 10nA
    • In-lens and lower SE detectors. Robinson backscattered electron detector for compositional contrast
    • ElectronScribe beam writing interface for electron beam lithography
    • Keithley 480 picoammeter and faraday cup for beam current monitoring