The instrumentation in the Core is sophisticated, expensive and in many cases the only equipment of its type at Augusta University. Use of the Electron Microscopy Core facilities and instrumentation is restricted to Core staff to protect the Department's and Institution's investment in the facility and to ensure the Core can provide its services to the entire research community.

The laboratory is equipped with instrumentation necessary for most types of biological specimen preparation and imaging for scanning and transmission electron microscopic ultrastructural analysis. When an investigator's research requires more specialized equipment, the Core staff will attempt to locate facilities that have the equipment. The Core's major equipment includes the following:

  • JEOL JSM-IT500HR/LA Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
  • JEOL JEM-1400 Flash Transmission Electron Microscope with Gatan 1095 One View Camera (TEM)
  • JEOL JEM-1230 Transmission Electron Microscope with Gatan Ultrascan 4000 Imaging System (TEM)
  • Leica UC7 Ultramicrotomes
  • EM FC7 cryochamber
  • Samdri-790 Critical Point Dryer
  • Technics Hummer Sputter Coater

The JSM-IT500HR/LA scanning electron microscope has both low and high vacuum modes of operation with a resolution of 1.5nm at 30KV and 4nm at 1KV under high vacuum. Under low vacuum conditions, the resolution is 1.8nm at 15KV. Magnification ranges from 30x to 600,000x. In addition, the SEM is equipped with an Energy Dispersive Microanalysis System with Peltier cooled Silicon Drift Detector and EDS software for X-Ray analysis. This system includes all the hardware and software for multi-point analysis, image capture, hyperspectral mapping, line scan, large area montage, drift correction, elemental quantification and reporting.

The JEOL JEM-1400 Flash TEM operates at 120KV accelerating voltage and is equipped with SerialEM capability for the acquisition of tomographic data and 3D reconstruction. Magnification ranges from 10x to 1,200,000x with a resolution of 0.2nm. The microscope also possesses an ultra-wide area montage system which allows for the capture of high pixel-resolution images over an ultra-wide area resulting from the splicing of individual small-area images.

The JEOL JEM-1230 TEM operates at 110KV and at magnifications of 50x to 600,000x with a resolution of 0.2nm at 110KV. This microscope was the Core’s work horse prior to acquisition of the JEM-1400 Flash. TEM Images from both microscopes are initially saved in Gatan’s Digital Micrograph format which records user-selected information about the specimen and microscope operating conditions in addition to the image. This large image file (65 MB) is retained permanently by the Core while full resolution (2000 pixels/in) publication quality JPEG (3 MB) or TIFF (20 MB) files are provided to Core users.

Leica UC7 ultramicrotomes are used for ultrathin sectioning resin-embedded specimens for transmission electron microscopy. The Leica ultramicrotome is on an anti-vibration air table in a specially designed enclosure and equipped with a digital camera and remote monitoring system to permit serial sectioning of specimens up to approximately 200 sections. Serial section images are typically used to create 3Dreconstructions.

The EM FC7 cryochamber is a state-of-the-art cryo sectioning system which attaches to the Leica UC6 or UC7 ultra microtome. Samples mounted in the EM FC7 cryochamber allow for preparation of ultrathin cryo-sections at temperatures between -15°C and -185°C which can then be put on specimen grids for immuno electron microscopy.

The critical point dryer and sputter coater are used to dehydrate and metal coat specimens for scanning electron microscopy.