Electron Microscopy


​​JEOL SEM Lab (CF22): 360-650-6226

Tescan SEM Lab (ES314): 360-650-2310

Getting Started

Information for new users is available on the new users page.

Teal colored boxy scientific instrument on a light gray desk beneath a wall mounted monitor
Cream colored large scientific instrument on a lab desk beside 3 monitors with blue glowing screens
Silver scientific instrument made up of multiple cylindrical shapes beside 4 monitors on a desk


  • JEOL​ JSM-7200F Field Emission SEM. Schottky Field Emission. This SEM is equipped with 150 mm² Oxford X-Max energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy detector, retractable backscatter detector (BSE),and Deben HAADF Annular SEM STEM detector. SEM modes include through-the-lens (TTL) mode, gentle beam (GB) mode and low-vacuum (LV) mode. Nominal resolution is about 1 nm. This high resolution SEM is ideal for both imaging and analysis of nanostructures, and determining chemical composition of the sample through X-ray spectroscopy. By combining large beam currents with a small probe size at any accelerating voltage, the JEOL JSM-7200F provides analytical resolution to the sub 100 nm scale.
  • Tescan Vega 3 Thermionic SEM The Vega 3 is a workhorse thermionic tungsten filament SEM. With the addition of the Low Vacuum Secondary Electron Tescan Detector, this SEM is capable of high resolution secondary electron imaging at both high and low vacuum. The peltier-cooled stage can cool a sample down to -50 ̊C at a rate of 30 ̊C per minute and allows for imaging of wet samples at low vacuum. An 80 mm² Oxford EDS detector enables rapid mapping capabilities and precise x-ray compositional data and a CL detector allows for imaging of fine details deep within a sample.
    Detectors include Everhart-Thornley secondary electron, YAG backscatter, Oxford 80 mm² EDS, panchromatic cathodoluminescence, and low vacuum secondary. Features a 5-axis compucentric stage and an optional peltier-cooled stage.

Sample Preparation

The following equipment is available for sample preparation: 

  • Carbon coater. The carbon coater pulses a strong current through graphite rods to coat samples in fine mist of conductive carbon.
  • Au/Pd sputter coater. The Au/Pd sputter coater uses an argon plasma to sputter at thin layer of conductive gold and palladium onto samples. 
  • RMC Boeckeler PowerTome PC cryogenic ultramicrotome. The microtome creates nanometer thin sections, ideal for sample analysis with our STEM detector.
  • CO2 critical point dryer. The CPD allows for gentle dehydration of a sample, preventing tissue damage from rapid atmospheric evaporation.


New users are required to receive training on the Tescan instrument before receiving training on the JEOL. Several training sessions are necessary before users are allowed to work independently. Users who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency may be given after-hours access. Initial training includes an introduction to the theory of SEM, basic operational modes, and sample preparation. Specialized imaging modes, microanalysis and microtomy are taught in advanced training. If you do not anticipate becoming a regular SEM user, SciTech staff can analyze your samples without training users. No fees are charged to Western Washington University users.  Instrument access and use policies are described in the SEM User Agreement.

Access for Companies

Industry users may submit samples for independent analysis by one of our staff and/or participate in the analysis themselves. The process is straightforward and turnaround on samples is usually possible within 72 hours, depending on instrument demand. Companies requiring frequent use can elect to have their staff trained to operate the instrument independently.  To schedule SEM consultation or analysis, e-mail Dr. Michael Kraft or call (360) 650-3511.

In addition to electron microscopy, SciTech partners with Western's Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center to offer industry users a comprehensive portfolio of analytical techniques and services, making it easy for companies to access dozens of different instruments campuswide through a single point of contact. Further details are provided at AMSEC's Industry page. 

The current industry rate schedule for electron microscopy is below (external academic users should contact SciTech for information on discounted academic user fees). Technician time is billed in addition to instrument time.

Service Rate per hour
Tescan SEM/EDS $130/hr
JEOL SEM/EDS $150/hr
JEOL STEM Analysis $170/hr
Ultramicrotome $50/hr
+ cryo mode + $40/session
+ diamond knife + $10/session
Staff Time $60/hr

*2019 Industry rates. Fee schedule subject to change without notice.