electron microscopy



The Electron Microscopy Site

Aim |Problems + solutions | EM at ETH | Further information


Aim of this Website

Since the first transmission electron microscope was built in 1931, much progress has been made in improving instruments and methods for exploring the micro and the nano world. Today, electron microscopy comprises a wide range of different methods that use the various signals arising from the interaction of the electron beam with the sample to obtain information about structure, morphology and composition. The goal of this site is to explain the basics of most electron microscopy methods in a qualitative way, i. e. without giving much insight into the complex theory and mathematics that underlie them. Thus, reading these pages can in no way substitute the study of textbooks.


How to find a solution to your problem

The method that is needed is determined by the question to be solved:


  • (High-Resolution) Transmission Electron Microscopy ((HR)TEM)
  • Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM)
  • Electron diffraction (ED)


  • Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS)
  • Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS)


  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

Elemental mapping



Electron Microscopy at ETH Zurich

Of course, not all investigations can be done with just one microscope. Because of that, there is a pool of different electron microscopes at the ETH Zurich hosted by the Scientific Center for Optical and Electron Microscopy (ScopeM) which is located at the Campus Hönggerberg. ScopeM also offers TEM and SEM practical training courses. A comprehensive introduction into theory and application of electron microscopy is given each fall term in the lecture series Electron Microscopy in Materials Science.


Further information

Of course, only a rudimentary description of the different electron microscopy techniques and their physical basics can be provided by this site. If you want to gain more comprehensive knowledge about the fascinating world of electron microscopy, there is a lot of information available in printed form. A script providing a short introduction into TEM and STEM is available here  (download pdf-file).

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ETH Zürich | ETH chemistry department | ETH inorganic chemistry

modified: 29 September, 2022 by F. Krumeich | © ETH Zürich and the authors