Transmission Electron Microscope was the initial type of Electron Microscope to be developed and is patterned precisely on the light transmission except that a focused beam of electrons is used instead of light to “see-through” the specimen. 

Transmission Electron Microscopy is a microscopy method where a beam of electrons is transmitted through a specimen to form an image. The specimen is most frequent an ultrathin section less than 100 nm thick or a suspension on a grid.

Electron microscopy involves the study of different samples by using an electron microscope. Using a transmission electron microscope, we can see things that we would not usually be able to see with our naked eyes and have a unique magnification than the light microscope.


                                     The Transmission Electron Microscope | CCBER

What is Scanning transmission electron microscopy?

A scanning transmission electron microscopy is a type of transmission electron microscope. To obtain atomic-resolution images in STEM, the level of vibration, temperature fluctuations, electromagnetic waves, and acoustic waves must be in limitation.

Is TEM and a Light Microscope the same?

Although TEMs and light microscopes work on the same basic principles, there are several differences between the two microscopes. The major difference is that TEMs use electrons instead of light to magnify images. The power of the light microscope is decreased by the wavelength of light and can magnify something up to 2,000 times. On the other hand, electron microscopes can produce much more highly magnified images because electron beams have a smaller wavelength, which creates higher resolution images. 

How Do TEMs Work?

TEMs employ a high voltage electron beam to create an image. An electron gun placed at the top of a TEM radiates electrons that pass through the microscope’s vacuum. The TEM employs an electromagnetic lens that focuses the electrons into an excellent beam. This beam then passes through the thin specimen, and the electrons scatter the fluorescent screen at the bottom of the microscope. An image of the sample with its assorted parts shown in different shades according to its density appears on the screen. This image can then be seen directly within the TEM.  

                                                    4: Transmission electron microscope schematic diagram. | Download  Scientific Diagram



  • Cleaning the surface of the specimen

  • Primary fixation of the specimen 

  • Fixatives 

  • Rinsing of the specimen

  • The secondary focus of the specimen

  • Dehydrating the specimen

  • Infiltration of the specimen with a solvent

  • Sectioning and staining of the specimen

How can we differentiate between the optical microscope and electron microscope?

The Scanning Electron Microscopes tend to have higher resolution power than optical microscopes, meaning that they offer a much more enhanced view of the solid sample. In optical microscopy, the resolution power is limited to visible light, and so, the wavelength tends to be 400-700 nanometers. 

The lenses in the case of optimal microscopes that make the specimen seen bigger, while in the case of electron microscope lenses are replaced by series of coil shapes electromagnets through-beam travels. The resolution of the optical microscope is 200nm and 0.2nm for the electron microscope. The magnification of the optical microscope is 1000x and 500000x for the electron microscope. Transmission electron microscope cost is higher than the optical microscopes.

Various applications of TEM

  • A Transmission Electron Microscope is helpful for diverse fields such as life sciences, nanotechnology, medical, biological, material research, forensic science, the study of gems and metals, as well as industry and education. 

  • TEMs provide topographical, morphological, compositional, and crystalline information. It helps researchers to view samples on a molecular level, making it possible to analyze structure and texture. This information is helpful in the study of metallurgy, in addition to industrial applications.

  • TEMs can be used in semiconductor analysis and the production and manufacture of computer and silicon chips.


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