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strucTEM Tools for structural analysis

NEW: strucTEM Measure

Measuring microscopy images:
Online, fast, accurate, flexible

strucTEM Measure is our new online software for measuring microscopy images.

strucTEM Measure

Scanning Electron Microscopy

Features
  • In the electron microscope (EM) the image is created by the interaction of electrons with the object.
  • In the scanning electron microscope (SEM) the electron beam is scanned in a raster scan pattern, and the position of the beam is combined with the intensity of the detected signal to produce an image.
  • Characteristic are images of surfaces with a high depth of focus.
  • Usual resolution: 1-30nm (depending on the instrument). The limit is currently approx. 0.4 nm.
  • Usual magnifications: 10 - 300.000x
Typical options 
  • Detection of backscattered electrons or secondary electrons
  • Chemical element analysis using EDX (energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy)

Reflected light microscopy

Characteristics
  • The object is illuminated from above (reflected light microscopy). This also allows the observation of compact samples
  • Usual resolution: 5µm- max. 0.5µm. 
    For comparison: The resolution of human eye it is about 330 µm.
  • Usual magnifications: 6-150x
Stereomicroscopy
  • Two optical beam paths provide a three-dimensional impression of the object under investigation.
  • Due to the three-dimensional imaging, the stereomicroscope is ideally suited for preliminary examinations of samples and the selection of areas to be examined at higher magnifications (e.g. in an electron microscope).

Transmission light microscopy

Characteristics
  • Optical magnification of transparent objects (e.g. extremely thin cross-sections) 
  • Maximum resolution: approx. 200 nm
  • Usual magnifications: 40-1000x
Options
  • Brightfield: the light passing through the object is observed. Contrast formation due to absorption in high density areas.

  • Darkfield : Observation of scattered light. Structures of transparent objects with low contrast can be displayed well.

Transmission
Electron Microscopy

Features
  • In the electron microscope (EM) the image is created by the interaction of electrons with the object.
  • In the transmission electron microscope (TEM) the electrons are transmitted through a sufficiently thin object (usually 10 - 100nm thick).
  • The entire internal structures are pictured.
Resolution limits
  • The resolution limits in the life science field depend on the chosen method.
  • Examples:
    - Cryo-electron tomography: ~4 nm
    - Negative contrasting of macromolecules: ~ 1.5 nm
    - 3D cryo electron microscopy of macromolecules: ~ 2 Å
    - Electron crystallography of macromolecules: ~ 1 Å