Access to the Electron Microscopes

As a user of the electron microscopes of the MPI-P you have to be very careful with the equipment. Our main aim is to keep the devices in operation and to avoid any long term off-times, because this will affect mainly your colleagues who are in need of the equipment as well.

Accordingly, we have set several regulations for applicants who´d like to use EM equipment by their own:

before getting an introduction and access to any of our microscopes, you have to:

  1. have a contract at the MPI-P for at least one year
  2. have submitted a critical number of samples to the EM-service (> 15 samples) within a certain time span
  3. joined the EM-introductory course (given every 4 month)
  4. joined the x-ray safety instructions (biannualy by Michael Kappel)
  5. be willing to act as a tutor for new-EM candidates
  6. you agree to measure samples from your AK-mates

Furthermore you have to fill the application form (LINK) and return it together with your projectleaders signature.

If we see that you are not using the EM for more than 6 month, we reserve to delete your account and you have to repeat the application procedure again.

Once you got access to one of the EMs, there are more rules and procedures, you should know.

Booking the machine

is pretty easy. In our intranet you can find the booking calendar for all our devices. Here you can book those machines for which you´ve got the respective introduction and permission.

In case you can´t use your booked slot, please be so kind and inform the EM-staff so that they can cancel your date so that someone else can use the machine instead. Unfortunately, there is no possibility that you can cancel your date by yourself – that’s impossible due to whatever IT complications.

As we are already at this topic: When you acquire micrographs you surely want to store them. So here come a short introduction on

How to store your images

The first and most important point is: --- Never plug an USB stick to any of the EM computers ---

Most of the PC are protected anyway but in case you insert an infected USB Stick, you can ruin the microscope within a second. And reconstruction of the complete microscope software can take days and in worst case we have to invite the friendly service technician to set up the whole microscope. That does not only cost a lot of time but also a lot of money.

All the images you save on the microscope PC will be automatically updated to our server and you can find the images later on \\isilon\em-lab\.... However, in order to operate properly, you have to stick to a certain nomenclature, which is different for SEM and TEM.

SEM image file nomenclature

When you work on the HITACHI SU 8000, you have to

check for the latest free sample number! All image files have to go to T:\\PCELM26\images_SU8000$

each sample gets its own directory with a specified naming convention:

  1. 5 digit sample number
  2. sample owner Initials
  3. sample owner name (ForenameLastname)
  4. operator initials / your initials
  5. AK-work group initials
  6. lab journal cross reference (the unique number in your / sample owner lab-journal)
  7. sample description

So, exemplarily a typical folder name would look like this:


and each image file in this folder needs to start with the sample number, so in this case the files will be named H04370-01.tif, where the last two digits are just the running number.

Yes-- that is long and maybe elaborate. But be reminded that only those files which are compatible with the above nomenclature will be automatically backed up to the server.

But the good thing is----- Once your images have been backed up on the server, you can have access to your images for the next 10 years. Yes, we have to store your images for 10 years.

TEM image file nomenclature

For all the TEM image files, we keep a TEM Sample book. Each sample you are going to measure by TEM needs to be booked here. In the sample description you should give at least your labjournal number, a short sample description and some information on the sample preparation. In return you will receive a sample number starting with a letter and a 4 digit number, followed by your initials, your name and the sample description. Exemplarily, this will look like this:


This name you can use as the folder name on the microscope PC. The individual image files should start with the sample number / the first five digits of the sample description followed by your initials and the identifier for the respective TEM. Accordingly, the file should be named like this:


where the _J_ indicates e.g. the JEOL JEM1400 and the 001 is the running number. Only if you follow this nomenclature, your images will be backed up and stored for the next 10 years.

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