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Cambridge University

Cambridge University

The Department of Earth Sciences and the Wolfson Electron Microscopy Suite (Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy) are world-leading laboratories hosted by the University of Cambridge, specialising in the characterisation of natural and synthetic materials across multiple length scales (millimetres to Ångströms).


Wolfson Electron Microscopy Suite

The WEMS is based in a world renowned TEM research environment, that has a strong emphasis on technique development and experience of applications to a wide range of materials. Comprehensive facilities are available for preparation and TEM analysis of samples and processing of data. Highly qualified staff can provide both training, scientific support and carry out work in the three installations. Sample Preparation – FEI Helios FIB, with deposition needles (Pt, Teos and C) and Omniprobe nanomanipulator for lamella removal and handling. A Gatan PIPS II is available for fine polishing of FIB samples and cross section and bulk preparation. An Allied MultiPrep wedge polishing system, cutting, grinding and electropolishing facilities are also available. The instruments provide a complete and flexible range of imaging, diffraction and analytical capabilities, including atomic-scale imaging and spectroscopy, electron tomography, holography, scanning diffraction and analysis. The WEMS has staff that can provide both training and scientific support for sample preparation, EM analysis and data processing. The EM group has specialised in developing TEM techniques such as electron tomography, electron holography and scanning precession electron diffraction (SPED). The WEMS has commercial and research software packages and expertise for obtaining Data analysis – PCs and software, including HyperSpy, Avizo, Digital Micrograph, etc.

The Cambridge group has a track record of innovation in advanced data processing, applied to techniques including tomography, scanning diffraction and magnetic materials. Data processing facilities and expertise are available to process data produced during TA visits or to train visitors to process their own data, in Cambridge and after taking their results home. Hardware, in the form of work-stations, licences for commercial software, such as Amira for visualisation of tomography data and open-source programmes, such as ImageJ, are available. A strong emphasis will be placed on using HyperSpy to process TA data and disseminating use of HyperSpy to user groups.

Department of Earth Science

Our major research focus is on: i) the use of high-resolution EBSD to determine the rheological properties of rocks, minerals and ice, with applications to the study of seismotectonics, natural hazards and the dynamics of ice sheets in response to climate change; ii) the use of 3D correlative microscopy from the mm to the nm scale to understand the formation of Earth’s natural resources, with application to the sustainable recovery of energy critical elements; iii) the application of nanoscale microscopy to environmental science, with applications to carbon capture and storage, environmental hazards and pollutants. The lab is equipped with a suite of equipment including FEI Quanta 650 FEG SEM + EDS + EBSD + CL + QEMSCAN, Cameca SX 100 Electron Microprobe; FEG Electron Microprobe (from Summer 2021), 2 x Brucker D8 powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD, Cu + Mo source). Our expert staff is available for help with data analysis.


The Department of Earth Sciences and the Wolfson Electron Microscopy Suite (Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy) are world-leading laboratories hosted by the University of Cambridge, specialising in the characterisation of natural and synthetic materials across multiple length scales (millimetres to Ångströms).

Curious to learn more?

Interested in gaining access to the EXCITE2 facilities? Please enter your email address and be one of the first to be informed when we open the first EXCITE2 call for proposals. Other questions? Contact us here.

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