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Electronic Microscopy and Material Microanalysis

Research Area: 
Physical Sciences
Engineering & Technology

University of the basque country UPV/EHU
Science and technology faculty
Edificio CD3
Bº Sarriena, s/n 48940 Leioa (Bizkaia)


Scientific-Technical Head of Service:

Dr. Maria Luisa Nó (University Professor) Dept of Applied Physics II. Faculty of Science and Technology
Tel: 94 601 2477

Scientific Advisor:

Dr. Jose Maria San Juan Nunez (University Professor) Dept of Condensed Matter Physics. Faculty of Science and Technology
E-mail: jose.sanjuan@ehu.es

Service technicians

Dr. Sergio Fernández
Phone: 94 601 5998
E-mail: sergio.fernandez@ehu.es

Dr. Ana Martínez Amesti
Phone: 94 601 5106
E-mail: ana.martinez@ehu.es

Available for external users?: 
Access protocol: 

Access to the unit of Electronic Microscopy and Material Microanalysis involves meeting the requirements set forth in the Protocol for access to SGIker and the services it provides.


The Electronic Microscopy and Material Microanalysis Service is equipped with a suitable infrastructure for the microstructural characterization of materials, both in mass samples (scanning electron microscopy) and in thin samples (transmission electron microscopy and microanalysis).


The Service offers the possibility to obtain micrography images using sweeping electronic microscopy, both of the topography of a surface (fracture facies, coatings, micro-threads, etc.) and of atomic number contrast images (samples with different compositional phases) or crystalline contrast images (polycrystalline sample with uniform composition).It also carries out qualitative (the chemical elements in each of the phases) and quantitative (chemical formula of each phase) microanalysis of multi-phase samples. The microscopy can also produce element maps (distributions in a multiphase region of the sample or in a phase whose composition can vary) and linear sweepings (intensity profile of each element along a line specified by the user, which is useful, for example, when segregations exist).

Training is provided by means of specific courses and educational support for various degrees and Master’s degrees.

Scanning electron microscopy with EDX and WDX microanalysis
The Service currently offers the chance to obtain micrographs via scanning electron microscopy, both from the topography of a surface (fracture facies, coatings, micro-threads, etc.) and atomic number contrast images (samples with different compositional phases). It also offers the chance to carry out both qualitative microanalyses (the chemical elements present in each of the phases) and quantitative microanalyses ((the chemical formula of each phase) of multiphase samples. Lastly, maps of elements can also be designed using this kind of microscopy (distribution of elements in a multiphase region of the sample and in a phase whose composition may vary). In the same way, line scanning can also be carried out (the intensity profile of each element along a line determined by the user - useful, for example when there exists segregation).

Transmission electron microscopy
As of mid-2006, it will be possible for whoever so requests to obtain micrographs via transmission electron microscopy both for the morphological characterization of particles of nanometric size and the crystallography of a phase via different diffraction modes, in addition to the characterization of defects (dislocations, grain joints, piling faults, antiphase boundaries, etc.). In particular, the type of microscopy with which the Service is equipped enables images to be taken in light field, dark field and weak beam, and parallel and convergent beam diffraction (micro and nanodiffraction, Kossel and Kossel-Möllenstedt diagrams, LACBED, etc.). The chance will also be offered to carry out microanalyses on present phases, as well as in situ tests according to temperature between liquid nitrogen and 900ºC (provided that no damage is envisaged to the microscope by the sample). This last-mentioned type of test is of great interest in the study of phase transformations, in addition to defect mobility..

High-resolution scanning electron microscopy with EBSD and EDX
During 2006 it is expected that the new field emission scanning electron microscopy service will commence, which will on the one hand enable topographic, compositional and crystalline contrast images to be taken with a far higher resolution than what is currently on offer (interesting for particles, grains or phases whose size is between 20 and 100nm). The EBSD detector fitted in this microscope will also enable each crystalline grain to be analysed grain by grain and, as a result, both the breakdown of disorientation among grains and the determination of microtextures.


Scanning electron microscope

- Secondary electron detector.
- Retroscattered electron detector.
- Microanalysis via R-X (EDX) Pentafet photon energy made by Oxford (with 133eV resolution and beryllium window).
- Microanalysis via R-X (WDX) photon wavelength with two spectrometers with two crystals each (JEOL).
- The entire unit can be used in completely automated mode (including slide), controlled by the Lemas system and Link exlll.
- Special slide to be able to work the same as with a microprobe (with illumination by transparency of the lens), with thin laminates.

Transmission electron microscope

Philips CM200 transmission electron microscope with a supertwin lens, LaB6 filament, specific 0.235nm resolution and 0.144nm line; ±40º tilt, equipped with:
- EDX microanalysis (with super-ultra-thin window for light elements and 137.4eV resolution, made by EDAX with DX-4 control system).
- TV Gatan 696 camera.
- Philips PW6595/05 double-tilt sample holder.
- Philips PW6594 rotation-tilt sample holder.
- Single-tilt sample holder (PW6596) and beryllium single-tilt for microanalysis (PW6597/05).