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Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


The electron microscopy core facility offers a range of specimen preparation services and training for electron microscopy approaches for academic users across Cambridge and externally. The facility focusses on biomedical applications and works with a huge range of specimens from isolated viruses to tissue samples.

Please contact Darran Clements ( queries. New and experienced electron microscopists alike are encouraged to get in touch with us to discuss their projects and how the facility can help. We are very happy to discuss projects at an early stage of development and undertake method development on a collaborative basis.

All of our services and equipment are accessed through the PPMS booking system.

Sample preparation services

  • Routine and tailored staining and resin embedding for biological samples.
  • Semithin and ultrathin sectioning.
  • Heavy metal staining.
  • Negative staining.

Please enquire for sample preparation costs. Bulk discounts for large projects are considered on request.


Hitachi HT7800 transmission electron microscope

The HT7800 is an 80-120keV transmission electron microscope with a LaB6 filament which is designed for user-friendly imaging.

  • LaB6 electron source operated at accelerating voltages of between 80-120keV.
  • EMSIS Xarosa 20 megapixel CMOS camera allowing 5,120 x 3,840px images to be acquired.
  • Integrated screen camera allowing operation under normal room light and easy sample navigation.
  • Lattice resolution of 0.204 nm (off-axis, 100keV).
  • Software functions for image montaging, intuitive sample navigation and automated image acquisition.
  • CompuStage with ± 70° stage tilt for electron tomography.
  • SerialEM available for advanced tilt series and montage acquisition.

Cost: £30/h internal; £53/h external/assisted. Please enquire for industry rates. Costs do not include VAT.

The TEM was funded by a Wellcome Trust multi-user equipment grant (212912/Z/18/Z) and additional generous support from the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, UK Dementia Research Institute and the Issac Newton Trust.

TESCAN Clara scanning electron microscope

The Clara is a 30kV ultra-high resolution field emission gun SEM for high resolution and versatile imaging. The Katana ultramicrotome also enables 3D serial blockface SEM imaging of biological samples.

  • Field emission gun electron source operating at up to 30kV.
  • Very low landing energies of <50V possible for beam sensitive samples.
  • Everhart-Thornley detector (E-T), in-column energy-filtered multidetector (MD), in-column axial BSE/SE detector (Axial) and retractable BSE detector (R-BSE).
  • Katana ultramicrotome for serial blockface SEM.
  • UniVac mode providing low pressure operation between 7 and 500 Pa with a gaseous secondary electron detector (GSD).
  • Retractable annular STEM detector with BF, DF and HADF segments.
  • Ultim Extreme windowless EDS detector for elemental analysis of biological samples.
  • Intuitive control software with automated functions for beam alignments.


Preparation equipment

Leica EM UC7 ultramicrotome

Our Leica EM UC7 ultramicrotome is fully equipped for semithin and ultrathin sectioning for biological samples and is also enabled for low temperature sectioning.

  • Semithin and ultrathin sectioning of resin samples.
  • Integrated EM FC7 cryochamber with CRION ioniser for low temperature sectioning.

EasiGlow glow discharger

Compact and intuitive glow discharger for treatment of TEM grids to make them hydrophilic.

  • One-button operation.

Leica CPD300 critical point dryer

Automated critical point dryer for preservation of fine structure in biological specimens before SEM.

  • Store and recall drying programs.
  • Automated processing with minimal user interaction.

Leica ACE600 sputter/carbon coater

High vacuum coater for deposition of thin metal or carbon conductive films on samples before SEM.

  • Both metal sputtering and carbon thread evaporation enabled.
  • Quartz film thickness monitor for accurate and reproducible films.
  • Gold, platinum/palladium and irridium sputtering targets available.