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Electron Microscopy Sciences

EMS Microscopy Academy Applications

Workshop Information

Please view our schedule to see if this course is currently offered.

arrow13Materials Ultramicrotomy Workshop

Three days of hands-on training for technicians, researchers, and students who want to apply a faster and cleaner preparation method that provides samples with uniform thickness, no embedded contamination, and is cheaper than a FIB.

Examples of the endless possibilities when doing materials microtomy

High Impact Polystyrene.
Claudia Maymofer, TU Graz
GaAs-AlGaAs nanowires grown epitaxially on Si Substrate. Resin embedded and sectioned with a ultra 35° diamond knife; HAADF-STEM.
Hanne Kauko, Dept of Physics Trondheim
Polycarbonate modified with rubber.
Jens Sicking, Bayer Technology Services, Leverkusen
Polypropylene with montmorillate clay nanoparticles. Sectioning with the DiATOME Ultrasonic Knife.

Sectioning Brittle Samples

Zeolite USY30 Crystal morphology STEM Analysis.
The Mesopores (2-50 nm) (left) and the Crystalline Micropores (0.7 nm) (right) are clearly visualized.
Tom Wilhammar, Sara Bals EMAT, Antwerp

Sectioning Metals

Cerium inclusions in a zinc coating.
Philippe Steyer and Emile Calvie, INSA, Lyon

EDS spectra showing the cerium peak.

Scope of Class

Introduce individuals to the unique application of ultramicrotomy to materials, which provides several advantages over other common techniques such as ion milling, FIB, and tripod polishing for TEM analysis. The thin (≤ 30 nm) sectioning of metals, embedded powders, and polymers is a technique that provides samples with a uniform thickness, retention of elemental distribution, lack of ion implantation contamination, and proves to be much faster than other preparation methods such as ion milling, tripod polishing and FIB milling.


The EMS Microscopy Academy
Located in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, the Academy provides electron microscopy classes, workshops and training sessions for all fields of microscopy, including materials science and biological science.


Lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice, as well as round table discussion. Participants my bring their own samples to work on during lab time.

Main Curriculum

  • Sample discussion/evaluation to determine method of support
  • Embedment in Epofix or Cyanoacrylate glue, if necessary
  • Trimming using razor blades, diamond trim blades, or the TXP for precision trimming
  • Sectioning of brittle materials and brittle water sensitive materials at room temperature
  • Sectioning of polymers at room temperature using an ultra sonic knife
  • Cryo trimming and sectioning ofsofter polymers
  • OsO4 and RuO4 staining of sectioned polymers

Instruments Available

Leica EM UC7 RT & Cryo RMC Boeckeler Power Tome PC RT & Cryo
Diatome Ultrasonic Diamond Knife Diatome 45°, 35° RT/Cryo Diamond Knives


Helmut Gnaegi, Diatome Ltd., Switzerland
Helmut's background is in engineering and he is one of the founders of Diatome, the leading supplier of diamond knives and related accessories, such as ionizers and manipulators, etc. He is also one of the leading instructors for ultramicrotomy courses (Biological and Materials) around the world.

Michael Kostrna
Michael was the program director of the Electron Microscopy Technician program at Madison Area Technical College and has more than 35 years in EM technical education and research experience. He has been training EM students for 30 years and has developed curricula and lab exercises for TEM, SEM, OLM, lab safety, introductory and advanced biological EM, EM, maintenance, and x-Ray microanalysis. He has worked with companies such as SC Johnson Polymer, Dow Chemicals, Io Genetics, Virent Technologies, ABS Global, NanoOnocology, and Microscopy Innovations, and in the process gained insight to the various applications of EM.

Al Coritz
Al has been working in the Electron Microscopy field for 39 years, beginning at the Yale School of Medicine and ending up on the commercial side with several key EM companies. His specialty is Cryo-techniques and Thin Film Technology: i.e. Freeze Fracture/Rotary Shadowing, High Pressure Freezing, and more. He is currently with Electron Microscopy Sciences where he has been the Technical Director for over 20 years.

View our schedule to see if this course is currently offered.

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