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Transmission and Scanning Electron Microscopy Services

Imaging, Consultation and Training

Our experienced electron microscopy team provides investigators with state-of-the-art technologies and expertise. We offer consultation, training and services in specimen preparation for transmission and scanning electron microscopy, or TEM and SEM. We encourage you to consult with us to ensure your EM imaging meets your project goals. We also welcome all users to train with us to use the microscopes independently.


 TEM  |  SEM

Schedule With Us

To schedule TEM and SEM services with the Electron Microscopy shared resource, or to get more information about how we can work with you, contact our associate director.

Caleigh Azumaya, Ph.D.
Associate Director


We provide users with high-resolution, high-magnification TEM images of cellular and sub-cellular structures from fixed, embedded material. Fine external details can also be quickly viewed by TEM using negative staining techniques. Individual investigators may conduct imaging on the microscope, or our staff can provide imaging services.

Examples of specimens imaged by TEM include: 

  • C. elegans in serial section
  • Whole cell suspension (pelleted) 
  • Cells in culture 
  • Specific Drosophila structures 
  • Embedded, sectioned bacteria  
  • Whole bacteria (negative stain) 
  • Viral particles (negative stain) 
  • Vesicle preps (negative stain) 
Muscle cell of pharynx
An electron micrograph showing a muscle cell of pharynx in wild-type C. elegans with myofilaments organized as single sarcomeres. Image by the Priess Lab, Fred Hutch
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TEM Services

We offer the following TEM imaging services:

  • Imaging with our 120 kV transmission electron microscope 
  • TEM tomography for 3D structural reconstruction

We offer the following specimen processing services for TEM:

  • Conventional specimen processing and embedding 
  • High-pressure freeze and automatic freeze substitution specimen processing 
  • Microwave specimen processing  
  • Semithin (0.2 to 2 µm) and ultrathin sectioning (30 to 150 nm)
  • Serial ultrathin sectioning 
  • Negative staining  
  • Vibrating blade microtomy for fresh or fixed tissue 
  • Multiple thin film coating, rotary shadowing and glow discharge 
H. pylori
H. pylori is able to live in the acidic environment of the stomach and duodenum and can cause disease there. Image by the Salama Lab, Fred Hutch
TEM Equipment

Our ThermoFisher Talos L120C transmission electron microscope has the following features:

  • 120 kV operation 
  • 4k x 4k ThermoFisher Scientific Ceta CMOS high-resolution 16M camera 
  • Cryo and low-dose capable 
  • Magnification range: 25x to 650kx 
  • Point resolution: ≤ 0.204 

Our Leica EMUC7 ultramicrotomes are capable of ultrathin sectioning (30 to 150 nm) and semithin sectioning (0.2 to 2 µm).

Our Leica VT1200S vibratome is a fully automated vibrating blade microtome for sectioning fresh or fixed tissue with the following features:

  • Maintains cell morphology, enzyme activity and cell activity under physiological conditions
  • Includes the Vibrocheck blade deflection measurement device
  • Section thickness from 1 to 999 µm

Our Leica EMPact2 high-pressure freezer vitrifies samples up to 200 µm in thickness. Other features include the following:

  • Rapid transfer system
  • Automatic freeze substitution specimen processing with the Leica AFS2

Our Denton benchtop turbo coating system has the following capabilities:

  • Full-range, low-voltage (resistive) thermal evaporation  
  • Multiple thin film coating and rotary shadowing 
  • AC glow discharge for plasma cleaning 

Our Beckman Airfuge offers small-volume, air-driven centrifugation.

Talos L120C
Talos L120C


Our SEM service offers a high-performance microscope for fast characterization and 3D imaging of fine surface structures on both small and large samples. SEM operation may be conducted by individual investigators or provided by our staff. 

Examples of specimens imaged by SEM include:

  • Whole cells in culture
  • Drosophila (adults and embryos)
  • Whole cells and bacteria deposited on coverslips
  • Artificial constructs for cell culture
A human breast cancer cell in diatomaceous earth at 4000x magnification
A human breast cancer cell in diatomaceous earth at 4000x magnification. Image by Erin Greenwood, Cheung Lab, Fred Hutch
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SEM Services

We offer the following SEM imaging services:

  • Imaging with variable accelerating voltages under high- or low-vacuum conditions
  • SEM of whole cells or bulk specimens (e.g., Drosophila embryos)

We offer specimen processing for SEM, including:

  • Specimen processing and dehydration using HMDS or critical point drying  
  • Sputter coating samples
Human embryonic kidney cells
A human embryonic kidney (large cell), infected with Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, was induced and overlaid with Bjab cells (small cells). Image by the Rose Lab, Seattle Children's Research Institute
SEM Equipment

Our JEOL JSM 6610LV scanning electron microscope has the following features:

  • 0.3 to 30 kV operation
  • Low-vacuum operation option for nonconductive specimens
  • Large specimen chamber and automated specimen stage
  • Sensitive backscattered electron detector
  • Resolution in high-voltage mode: 3.0nm (30 kV)
  • Resolution in low-voltage mode: 4.0nm (30 kV)
  • Magnification range: 5x to 300,000x

Our other SEM equipment includes:

  • Tousimis critical point dryer with fully automated operation
  • Denton Desk IV sputter coater with variable thickness coating and a gold-palladium target
JEOL JSM 6610LV scanning electron microscope
JEOL JSM 6610LV scanning electron microscope Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service
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Questions about our TEM and SEM services or how to schedule with us?