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IMC Outline

Learning Outcomes


At the end of the course students should be able to:

  • follow set procedures for the use of SEM and AFM
  • be competent in standard sample preparation techniques such as sputter coating
  • describe image formation and resolution limitations in electron and scanned probe microscopes
  • understand the difference in electron optics between SEM and TEM
  • relate the electron interaction processes to the image contrast they generate
  • compare the use of contact mode and tapping mode AFM
  • reflect upon the analysis capabilities of SEM, TEM and AFM



The detailed syllabus has not yet been decided. The lectures and practicals will follow the following format


  • EM1: Electron sources, optics, microscope alignment and electron/specimen interactions (JS)
  • EM2: Electron-Specimen interactions (AS)
  • EM3: SEM image formation, detectors, microanalysis and chemical mapping (RB)
  • EM4: TEM contrast mechanism and image formation (RK)
  • EM5: Advanced techniques and a look to the future of EM (JS)
  • EM6: TEM and SEM practical issues and and specimen preparation (AS)
  • AFM1: An introduction to atomic force microscopy (NW)
  • AFM2: Practicalities - hardware, imaging modes and cantilevers (NW)
  • AFM3: Theory - beams, forces and oscillations (NW)



  • AFM1: The AFM and contact mode (NW)
  • AFM2: Tapping mode (NW)
  • AFM3: Lithography and assessment (NW)


  • SEM1: The SEM and basic operation (RB)
  • SEM2: Detectors and analysis (RB)
  • SEM3: Hands on and Monte-Carlo (RB)


  • TEM1: The TEM and basic operation (JS)
  • TEM2: Imaging in TEM (AS)
  • TEM3: STEM (RK)



Students will have a practical assessment on the final day of the course, and an oral interview roughly two weeks later.