Argonne National Laboratory

Electron & X-Ray Microscopy Capabilities

Electron Microscopy


ACAT:  Argonne Chromatic Aberration-corrected TEM

This FEI Titan 80-300 ST has a CEOS Cc/Cs corrector on the imaging side of the column to correct both spherical and chromatic aberrations. The Cc/Cs corrector also provides greatly-improved resolution and signal for energy filtered imaging and EELS.


The JEM-2100F is an advanced Field Emission Electron Microscope featuring ultrahigh resolution and rapid data acquisition with the highest image quality and the highest analytical performance in the 200kV class analytical TEM with a probe size under 0.5 nm. A side-entry goniometer stage provides easy use of tilt, rotation, heating and cooling, programmable multi-point settings without mechanical drift. Contact the custodian with questions.


This analytical transmission electron microscope (AEM) has specialized accessories including an energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometer and a post-column electron filter for both electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) and energy-filtered imaging (EFI). The STEM capability enables HAADF imaging and XEDS/EELS spectrum imaging, among others. Specimen cooling and tomography holders are available.

Zeiss 1540XB FIB-SEM

This platform accommodates site-specific TEM sample preparation, 3D data acquisition, nanofabrication and manipulation, and other advanced uses.Simultaneous electron and ion scanning offers unique imaging and fabrication opportunities.

Other Instruments

  • FEI/Phillips CM30T — analytical transmission electron microscope (AEM)
  • Hitachi S-4700-II — high-resolution, high-vacuum SEM
  • FEI Quanta 400F — high-resolution environmental and variable-pressure SEM

Support Facilities

  • Specimen preparation is an important part of electron microscopy and an array of standard specimen preparation capabilities are available. While users are expected to carry out their own specimen preparation, expertise and guidance may be provided by CNM staff.


  • Would you like Theory with that? Joint experimental-theory proposals are possible and encouraged; visit the Theory & Modeling Group's website for more information about their capabilities.


X-Ray Microscopy


Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN)

The CNM/APS Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN) facility at beamline 26-ID of the Advanced Photon Source (APS) delivers a hard x-ray beam tunable over the 6-12 keV spectral range and focused to 25 nm onto the sample. This x-ray energy range is ideal for probing crystalline thin films, devices and interfaces, many inner-shell electronic resonances, and mapping most elements in the periodic table. The HXN uses interferometric control to maintain relative positional drift of the focusing optics and sample less than 10 nm/h. The working distance between the x-ray focusing optics and the sample is typically a few mm, enabling a variety of in-situ and operando experiments with variable temperature, applied electric and magnetic fields, and  liquid and gaseous environments. A heating/cooling specimen stage supports variable temperature experiments with the HXN over a temperature range of 100-525K with a step-size of 0.01 K and stability of 0.005 K.

Scanning Nanodiffraction and Bragg Ptychography

Nanoscale structural information, such as crystallographic phase, strain, and texture, are measured at the HXN at a spatial resolution down to 30 nm by recording how a crystalline sample diffracts the incident nanofocused x-ray beam while on the Bragg condition as the focus is scanned over the sample. Bragg ptychography, a scanning coherent diffractive imaging technique that exploits the coherence of the nanofocused x-ray beam combined with iterative phase retrieval methods, provides nanoscale structure and lattice strain information within crystalline samples at a resolution extending to 5 nm, well beyond that of current hard x-ray focusing optics. Scanning nanodiffraction and Bragg ptychography are in high demand at the HXN as tools for probing crystal ordering, defects, and phase transitions in nanomaterials.

Multimodal chemical and structural nanoimaging

The CNM/APS HXN is uniquely capable of chemical and structural nanoimaging at a resolution of ~30 nm by exploiting its scanning fluorescence x-ray microscopy (SFXM) transmission x-ray microscopy (TXM) capabilities. In SFXM, the spatial distributions of the elements in a sample are mapped by scanning a nanofocused x-ray spot over it as the emitted fluorescence x-rays are measured by an energy-dispersive detector. Characteristic fluorescence x-rays emitted by the sample uniquely identify the elements present in it with 1000 times greater sensitivity than electron probes; the incident photon energy can also be tuned over absorption edges to analyze the sample's chemical state. Nanoscale elemental and chemical mapping with the HXN enables understanding material properties, such as trace contaminants, second-phase particles, defects, and interfacial segregation. TXM, a full-field imaging method, enables rapid measurement of the sample morphology and density in absorption contrast and location of features, edges and interfaces in phase contrast. Combining SFXM measurements of the chemical distribution in the sample with density measurements taken through it by TXM enables mapping the 3D chemical state and structure of the sample far more rapidly than, for example, tomographic SFXM. This approach can be used to image samples under various in-situ/operando conditions, and is particular well suited to 3D study of highly complex, heterogeneous, and non-crystalline nanomaterials.

Synchrotron X-ray Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (SX-STM)

Synchrotron x-ray scanning tunneling microscopy (SX-STM) is a new imaging technique that uniquely combines the best of two worlds: the exceptional chemical, magnetic, and structural sensitivity of x-rays combined with the unparalleled ability of scanning probe microscopy to resolve and manipulate surfaces down to single atoms. In collaboration with the APS X-ray Science Division we are developing XTIP, the world’s first dedicated synchrotron beamline for SX-STM. XTIP, located at Sector 4 of the APS, is under construction and will become operational in 2018. Until then, we provide limited beamtime at APS beamline 4-ID-C to General Users for early-science SX-STM experiments.These experiments will focus on the study of chemical and magnetic properties of nanoscale materials using SX-STM at photon energies between 500 to 2500 eV. Please contact the principal investigator for more information.