Transmission Electron Microscopy – TEM

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Transmission Electron Microscopy or TEM is a powerful tool for imaging, spectroscopy, and diffraction analysis. A Transmission Electron Microscope is the most powerful microscopic instrument available and it is used to produce images of electron beam interaction with a sample. TEM performed in our testing labs helps to determine atomic-level structural characteristics of materials required for product design and application.


Transmission Electron Microscopy

Before we understand what is TEM or Transmission Electron Microscopy, we need to understand that TEM is a powerful tool for imaging, spectroscopy, and diffraction analysis. TEM is a powerful microscopy technique used in testing labs, in which a  beam of electrons is allowed to transmit through an ultra-thin specimen in order to interact with the atoms of the specimen. This electron beam generates a highly magnified image of the atoms it interacts with. The images obtained allow us to observe features such as the crystal structure and features in the structure like dislocations and grain boundaries. It is possible to image the atomic arrangement of the materials (1-2 A resolution), atomic defects, variation in a lattice arrangement across boundaries, chemical or composition changes, determine the crystal structure and orientation, etc. The elemental distribution could be quantified and mapped.

In TEM, electrons transmitted through a specimen are analyzed. High energy electrons interact with the specimen to produce various signals such as x-rays, elastically and inelastically scattered electrons, Auger, backscattered electrons, etc. containing different information about the specimen.

Our testing labs are well equipped to carry out all the routine and tailor-made Transmission Electron Microscopy analyses for the benefit of our clients based in the USA and other parts of the world. Our testing lab experts work tirelessly to provide a world-class TEM testing experience.

Common Uses of Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

  • Imaging atomic level boundaries in semiconductors
  • Ultra-high precision thickness measurement of atomic layers in physical vapor deposition or atomic layer deposition techniques
  • Asbestos identification in construction material
  • Crystalline phase determination 
  • Sub nanometer atomic lattice dimension mapping
  • Nanomaterials particle analysis
  • Imaging atomic-level defects such as dislocations, lattice defects, grain boundaries, etc.
  • Chemical analysis and high-resolution elemental mapping

Advantages of Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

  • Atomic-scale imaging of individual atoms
  • A wealth of information including chemistry and crystallography about an ultra-local area of a specimen


  • Samples only small areas, typically a few microns
  • Specimens need to be thin enough to be electron transparent i. e. <100 nm
  • Damages introduced by specimen preparation
  • Electron beam damage introduces artifacts
  • Insulating materials require a conductive coating to prevent charging
  • Time-intensive process


  • Semiconductors
  • Construction
  • Nanotechnology
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Advanced Materials
  • Automotive
  • Energy Storage and Batteries
  • LED and Display
  • Mining and Minerals
  • Biomaterials

TEM Laboratories

  • Evans Analytical Group – EAG laboratories
  • Covalent Metrology
  • Asbestos TEM Laboratories, Inc.
  • MVA scientific consultants

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    FAQs on Transmission Electron Microscopy – TEM

    Where can I get the TEM analysis done?

     TEM analysis requires specialized tools and skillset. Experts at Infinita Lab provide transmission electron microscopy (TEM) test services to support you in investigating the surface structure and identifying defects.

    How much does transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis cost?

    The cost of the TEM analysis starts from $600/sample.

    What is transmission electron microscopy (TEM) used for?

    TEM allows high-resolution imaging with a magnification up to 50 million times. It is used for magnifying objects, to investigate the ultrastructure of organic and inorganic samples including microorganisms, cells, large molecules, metals, and crystals. It is used for identifying defects, impurities, grain boundaries, and determining phases, and their orientations. It is used to determine chemical composition at the point of interest with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) or Electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) detectors with the STEM mode. 

    What is the difference between SEM and TEM?

    Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) uses transmitted electrons to create images, while SEM uses deflected electrons from the sample. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is great for 2D and 3D surface imaging to detect roughness and contamination. However, if you are interested in analyzing grain boundaries and structural defects, nanoscale imaging with TEM is the go-to technique.

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