Thermo FEI Quanta 250 Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) [TY 116]

SEMScanning electron microscope that can operate in high or low vacuum mode enabling the use of a wide variety of samples. Electron beam is generated by a tungsten filament which can resolve features down to 3 nanometers.

The FEI SEM has a Cathodoluminescence detector fitted with a custom WSU designed filter wheel.

The Cathodoluminescence detector can visualize the inherent phosphorescence of certain minerals. This allows for better visualization and analysis of rock and other material structure.

Equipment Documentation

Example Use Cases:

  • Measurement of samples at the nanometer level
  • Quality control of nanofabrication (solar cells, computer chips)

Confocal MicroscopeFeaturing the high sensitivity and speed required for live cell imaging as well as deep tissue observation, the FV3000 confocal microscope enables a wide range of imaging modalities, including macro-to-micro imaging, super resolution microscopy, and quantitative data analysis.

Equipped with 5 different laser lights for visualizing different wavelengths. Samples can be stained with antibodies that are conjugated to chromophores that are then excited by the particular wavelength of laser light. This allows for different parts of a biological sample to be stained with different colors, Nucleus=Blue, DNA=Green, a particular protein=Red.

Example Use Cases:

  • Imaging the inner structure of organelles
  • Staining neurons to see the nucleus, synapse, dendrites, and axons 
  • Observing autofluorescence in microbiolates



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Atomic Force Microscope [TY 116]

Atomic Force Microscope

The Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) uses an ultra-sharp silicon crystal probe to scan over the surface of a sample. The tip is so sharp that it can sense the atomic forces along the surface of the sample to give precision down to hundreds of picometers (under a nanometer). This allows the instrument to give quantitative data on sample height.

The AFM is a complementary instrument to the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). While the SEM has the ability to look at samples with large differences in their heights the AFM excels at “flat” samples where the total height can be measured in nanometers. This allows the AFM to analyze samples in 3 dimensions as opposed to 2 dimensions in the SEM.
The AFM can measure samples without a vacuum, whereas the SEM need a vacuum to function. 

Example Use Cases:

  • Check fabrication of computer chips
  • Imaging of cell membranes
  • Viral morphology

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