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Sample Preparation

SEM - Sample Preparation and Coating

Samples often require preparation prior to viewing in the various microscopes, this means for SEM and TEM in most cases the sample must be dried (for biological samples often using the dehydration protocols and the Critical Point Dryer).

Most samples must be coated (usually with a thin layer of carbon or platinum) prior to using in the SEM to prevent charging under the electron beam. We recommend you discuss your options with an Adelaide Microscopy staff member first and then once your samples have been prepared and individually labelled drop them off at Adelaide Microscopy for coating at least 3 days prior to your booking.

The exception is the Quanta 450 ESEM, in which samples can be viewed uncoated and can be hydrated (wet), cryo techniques on the SEM can also be used to preserve the structure of the sample in its natural state.

Coating is complimentary for users doing their imaging and analysis at Adelaide Microscopy. There is a fee for coating if you plan to do your microscopy offsite.

TEM - Sample Preparation

TEM samples must be fixed (if biological) and chemically processed prior to viewing in the microscope. There are many types of sample preparation techniques for TEM which can include ultramicrotomy of dehydrated embedded samples, solutions can be dried on a TEM grid which has a thin film support holding the sample, FIB or milling of a thin sample etc, but it depends on your sample and what you want to investigate.

Sample Preparation Equipment for SEM/TEM:

Optical Microscopes
TOUSIMIS 931 Critical Point Dryer
CRESSINGTON 208 High Resolution Sputter Coater
QUORUM Q150T E Carbon Coater
LEICA AFS Automated Freeze Substitute and Low-temperature Embedding Unit
LEICA Ultracut S with FCS Cryo-attachment - Cryo-microtomy MIcrotome
LEICA EM CPC Cryopress Slam-freezer
LEICA EM CPD300 Critical Point Dryer
LEICA EMPACT High Pressure Freezer
Freeze Substitution Units - Leica AFS2 with FSP robot, and Leica AFS
Immunogold Labelling

Adelaide Microscopy

Ground Floor NG13,
Helen Mayo Building North
Frome Road
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005

Location and map


T: +61 8 8313 5855

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm
(except public holidays and University closure days over the Christmas/New Year period)

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