Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science


Transmission Electron Microscopy Facility

The Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) Facility is located in the subbasement of the Keck Engineering Laboratory (Room 042). We have a transmission/STEM electron microscopes for materials research maintained under contract with FEI Service.

The FEI Tecnai F30ST (300kV) is used for high resolution imaging and EDS analysis. It is equipped with a high angle annular dark field detector, an Oxford ultra-thin window EDS detector and a Gatan Ultra Scan 1000XP camera. This TEM is available through the Applies Physics and Materials Science Department.

Specimen preparation facilities include electrochemical polishing and ion milling equipment, plus the standard tools of metallography.

The TEM facility has seen wide use from scientists across the Caltech campus in the Divisions of Engineering and Applied Science, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Biology, Geology and Planetary Sciences, and Physics Mathematics and Astronomy. Arrangements can be made for scientists and engineers from the Los Angeles area to use the facility. Carol Garland is the contact person for inquiries about the feasibility of microscopy analysis, and she can manage a number of preliminary or short-term projects. Training is available for users with long-term research projects. Scheduling is done by contacting the professional staff to make an appointment.

Rates charged to users are determined annually and vary with the instrument, amount of support needed, and billing arrangements required. For current rates and services available, contact:


FEI TF30ST transmission electron microscope is used for research. This 300kV field emission TEM is equipped with a HAADF STEM detector, an Oxford energy dispersive x-ray detector, and a high resolution CCD camera.

Nikon reflected light microscope with polarizer, analyzer, and Nomarski illumination is used for metallurgical studies.

Equipment for Sample Preparation
The preparation of a sample that is transparent to electrons is frequently the critical step in the TEM characterization of a material. The sample preparation laboratory in 042 Keck includes standard and specialized equipment needed to prepare samples for observation by optical or transmission electron microscopy.

  • Ion mill for thinning sample
  • Ultramicrotome for sectioning materials at room temperature
  • Dimpler for pre-thinning samples
  • Chemical thinning equipment and fume hoods
  • Tripod polisher
  • Ultrasonic disc cutter
  • Slow speed diamond saw for cutting samples
  • Sanding and polishing equipment for pre-thinning and finishing samples
  • Stereo microscopes
  • Plasma cleaner