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Electron Microscopy for Materials Characterization

The course provides an introduction to analytical electron microscopy (AEM) as applied to materials chemistry studies, in particular nanomaterials


The course covers the experimental techniques of

  • scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
  • scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM)

thus providing a detailed description of the electron microscope instrumentation while also teaching the fundamental physics of the image formation.

Various electron diffraction, imaging, and sample preparation techniques are presented and discussed, and the practical knowledge necessary to perform these methods and interpret the results are taught.

The course also provides a succinct overview of two widely-used spectroscopy techniques - energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) - emphasizing how they can be used to obtain information about the electronic structure and chemical composition on length scales ranging from micrometers (SEM) down to the atomic level (STEM).  

Real-world applications of the various EM techniques for characterization of different types of sustainable materials and nanoparticles are presented in lecture and lab form.

  • Course structure

    Expected learning outcome, theory:

    • explain the basic principles of how transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) and scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) are designed and work
    • propose suitable sample preparation methods for EM studies
    • interpret electron diffraction patterns and the contrasts of different types of EM images
    • propose appropriate EM techniques to hold structural information and chemical composition of a material

    Expected learning outcome, lab:

    • explain the principles of SEM, TEM, STEM, electron diffraction, EDS and EELS experiments and their sample preparation
    • report the use of SEM, TEM, STEM, electron diffraction, EDS and EELS, interpret results and draw conclusions about what structural information and / or chemical composition they provide about the studied material


    Theory, 4 ETCS

    Lab, 3.5 ECTS

    Teaching format

    The teaching consists of lectures, laboratory work and exercises.


    Theory: written exam
    Lab course: lab reports and presentations

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Contact

    Course responsible
    Chemistry Section & Student Affairs Office