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Center for Nanoscale Materials

Electron and X-ray Microscopy

We develop capabilities that go beyond off-the-shelf technology to identify, define and develop electron and X-ray microscopy needs including data science and new modalities such as ptychography.

Understanding the microscopic structure of materials is essential for determining their properties and for the creation of new, useful devices. For decades, electron microscopy and X-ray imaging have been used to look inside matter. Electron microscopes can now resolve single atoms buried within structures, while X-ray microscopy can image molecular dynamics on a timescale of femtoseconds. CNM researchers with deep expertise in these two separate capabilities work closely together to create the most powerful images of material structures and dynamics.

Advances in electron and X-ray microscopy have enabled new levels of spatial resolution and physicochemical sensitivity that allow scientists to, for instance, image strain in nanomaterials. The Electron and X-ray Microscopy Group, together with the CNM’s dynamic and diverse user community, makes use of the unique facilities located at the CNM to bring together two modalities with a single goal: to understand material structures, fundamental processes and excitations driving energy transport and interactions in complex nanomaterials.

X-ray imaging utilizes the high brightness of the Advanced Photon Source (APS) with state-of-the-art X-ray focusing optics and imaging methods to provide quantitative two- and three-dimensional insight into nanoscale interactions in energy-efficient materials, devices and systems. In concert with the APS X-ray Science division we operate two world-class X-ray microscopy facilities. The Hard X-ray Nanoprobe, located at APS Sector 26, is the only dedicated x-ray microscopy beamline within the portfolios of the nation’s Nanoscale Science Research Centers. The Synchrotron X-ray Scanning Tunneling Microscope (SX-STM), a novel instrument with the unique capability to image elemental, chemical and spin states down to single atoms, is based at APS Sector 4.


  • Scanning nanodiffraction and Bragg ptychography at APS S26
  • Multimodal chemical and structural nanoimaging at APS S26
  • ACAT: Argonne chromatic aberration-corrected TEM
  • Field emission transmission electron microscope:  JEOL JEM2100F
  • TEM/STEM:  FEI Talos F200X and FEI Tecnai F20ST
  • FIB-SEM: Zeiss 1540XB
  • Other SEMs and TEMs

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