College of Science and Engineering Characterization Facility

Upcoming Events

Design of Medical Devices Conference

April 13-16th, 2015

The world's largest medical device conference will be held at The Commons Hotel & McNamara Alumni Center, located on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus.

Click here for details

CharFac/UIC Workshop: Specimen Preparation for Biological TEM and Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy (CLEM)

April 23, 2015 8:30AM - 4:00PM (Tentative Times)

The workshop focuses on recent advances for TEM sample preparation and for correlating what we image in the light microscope with the very same specimen in the electron microscope.

Registration Deadline: April 15, 2015

Click here for details

News and Information

Tecnai Spirit BioTWIN with iCorr

The Tecnai Spirit BioTWIN in Moos Tower now features "iCorr" -- the first integrated light and electron microscope that combines a wide-field fluorescence light microscope and electron microscope into a single, harmonized instrument, thereby enabling a faster more accurate approach to correlative microscopy. Electron microscopy (EM) offers extremely high image resolution--1,000 or more times better than light microscopes. Light microscopes (LM) offer a wide variety of specialized techniques, such as fluorescent labeling, that can identify a single molecule or structure within a large, complex environment like the interior of a living cell. Correlating between the two techniques allows scientists to use LM to find the target and EM to explore its form and function. Correlative microscopy allows investigators to find a feature of interest faster in the EM, gain additional information about its structure down to the molecular scale, and understand relationships between the feature and its larger scale context. Please contact Bob Hafner for more information and use of this capability.

FEI Titan Transmission Electron Microscope

Photo of Titan
We are excited to announce the installation of a new FEI Titan aberration-corrected TEM, as funded by the I3 internal grant competition along with matching funds (lead PI Andre Mkhoyan). This addition takes the University of Minnesota into a new realm of high-resolution characterization, both in imaging and compositional analysis. To accommodate this instrument, two rooms were combined into one and the ceiling was locally raised; a separate walled-in remote operating space was created for cases when greater instrument isolation is needed.

Technical details and capabilities of this instrument include the ability to operate at accelerating voltages ranging from 60 to 300 kV and a spherical-aberration corrector for the probe-forming lenses, yielding a STEM spatial resolution of less than 0.08 nm. The combination of an ultra-bright X-FEG source and the Super-X energy-dispersive X-ray detector system will allow elemental composition maps to be collected approximately 10 times faster than with previous systems. An electron beam monochromator and Gatan Enfinium spectrometer will enable electron energy-loss spectroscopy to be performed with an energy resolution of 0.1 eV, allowing unparalleled access to structural and bonding information and the capability to determine elemental composition at atomic resolution.

The growth and modernization of our TEM enterprise also leads to a heightened need for equipment to handle specimen and specimen holder cleaning for high-resolution work. As announced in our last newsletter, a grant-in-aid award to Prof. Mkhoyan has enabled the purchase of an advanced plasma cleaner for transmission electron microscopy specimens and specimen holders. This augments a 10-year old system that has experienced substantial downtime with increasing age. The new system will provide greater capacity and the additional ability to mix gases for more precisely controlled chemical action. Please contact Jason Myers for more information about the new systems and/or to discuss your TEM needs.

Nicolet iS50 FT-IR Spectrometer

A new FT-IR spectrometer has been installed to replace the old Nicolet Magna 750 spectrometer. It is superior in many aspects to the Magna 750. The new spectrometer is equipped with MCT and DLaTGS detectors, a high-intensity IR source, a white light source that can be used for near IR measurements, and a built-in attenuated total refection (ATR) with a diamond crystal. Transmission, specular and diffuse reflections and ATR measurements can be conducted on the main bench. We also acquired a multi-bounce ATR accessory with ZnSe and Ge crystals. The multi-bounce ATR allows IR lights to interact with the sample surface for more than 10 times, increasing the possibility of detecting low-concentration species. The existing Continuum FT-IR microscope is fully compatible to this spectrometer and is used to conduct transmission, reflection and ATR measurements. Please contact Bing Luo for more information and use of this instrument.

Cryogenic Scanning Electron Microscopy System (cryo-SEM)

The new system will upgrade and improve cryoSEM capabilities in a growing range of applications and replace the Hitachi S-900 FEGSEM and ancillary hardware for specimen preparation and vacuum introduction currently in use in our Hasselmo Hall facility. The majority of the work performed with our current systems has involved cross-sectional imaging of liquid-applied coatings (e.g., latex). Here the concept is to see all ingredients, both solid and liquid, by fast freezing to solid state then fracturing the coating under vacuum, and keeping at cryogenic temperatures (i.e., solid) during electron-beam based imaging. For information on using any of our cryo-SEM systems in the future, please contact staff members Chris Frethem


Main Office

12 Shepherd Labs
100 Union St. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone:  (612) 626-7594
Fax:  (612) 625-5368