Mass spectrometer

Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis Unit

High-magnification imaging and analysis of natural and manufactured materials

The Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis Unit (EMMU) provides facilities and support in advanced materials characterisation to students and researchers.

The unit has instruments for high-magnification imaging and analysis of the chemical and physical structure of natural and manufactured materials.

Our facilities support many research groups and provide training and consultancy opportunities for academic and industrial collaborators in the areas of:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences

More information on the EMMU and how to access it


Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

We have five scanning electron microscopes (SEM) equipped with a wide-range of detector types for analysis of a wide-range of materials under high- and low-vacuum conditions. These include systems with field-emission gun, LaB6 and tungsten electron sources, and detector systems for secondary electron (SE), backscattered electron (BSE), cathodoluminescence (CL), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDS) spectroscopy and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). The instruments are supported by dedicated sample preparation and coating equipment.

Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD)

We specialize in micro- to nano-scale structural analysis of natural and manufactured materials by EBSD, using an Oxford Instruments Nordlys Nano detector and Aztec software.

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

Our TEM is a JEOL 1400 capable of operating at 120kV acceleration voltage, with a goniometer stage and a base-mounted AMT digital camera. Sectioning for the TEM uses the super sharpness of glass knives (Leica KMR3 glass knife maker) operating on a Leica Ultracut 7 ultratome.

Laser-ablation inductively coupled-plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS)

The Mass Spectrometry and Laser Ablation Laboratory hosts state-of-the-art equipment to measure trace elements and isotope ratios in a wide range of natural and industrial materials. Our Analytik Jena Plasma Quant MS Elite ICP-MS combines the rapid scanning of a quadrupole mass spectrometer with industry-leading sensitivity for trace element and isotopic analysis. Our Nu Plasma MC-ICP-MS is used to make high-precision isotope ratio measurements with an upgraded sensitivity to support better laser ablation analyses.

ASI RESOlution SE laser ablation system

193nm excimer laser ablation system for in-situ sampling of solid materials. The system offers controlled ablation of a wide-range of materials at spot sizes ranging from 2 to 100 um at energy densities up to >20 J/cm2. The laser can be coupled to the PQ Elite and/or Nu Plasma MC-ICP-MS mass spectrometers.

High performance light microscopy

We have a range of light microscopes that can be used in support of Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis Unit activities. These include stereo, transmitted polarizing light and reflected light microscopes.

View our equipment

Where to find us

Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis Unit

Burnaby Building,
Burnaby Road,

For more information, please contact Dr James Darling, Director of the Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis Unit