- For simple equipment, such as Leica VT1000 S and VAC Vacuum Oven, the EM Core prepared a detailed “standard operating procedure” for potential clients. However, first time clients still need to get personal training provided by the EM Core. For complicated equipment, such as Leica UC-7 ultrathin microtome, FEI Tecnai G2 12 TEM with a Gatan OneView 16 Megapixel Camera, or Zeiss Sigma VP field emission SEM with Gatan 3View2 XP system, potential clients need to get special training for several weeks. The EM Core Manager follows up on routine operations and troubleshoots problems that may arise.
- The EM Core uses the FEI Tecnai G2 12 TEM system to collect EM images. The microscope is newly equipped with a Gatan OneView camera, which extends 4k×4k camera leadership for imaging and in-situ data capture. It takes several months to learn how to operate the whole TEM system and troubleshoot the common problems. The EM Core can effectively operate this system and collect the EM images with super high resolution.
- The 3-D SEM system has the follow properties: (a) ultrathin microtome inside the SEM chamber allows repeated cutting and imaging; (b) cut thickness can be set at 30 nm, even less than 15 nm; (c) the maximum sample size is about 1 mm × 1 mm × 0.6 mm; (d) the efficiency is very high. A 100 slice dataset can be collected in a few hours. A 1000 slice dataset can be collected with an overnight run. However, there are challenges to smoothly operate this system and obtain ideal serial images for different projects, especially this system which consists of Zeiss SEM and the Gatan 3View2. The new technique also requires the EM Core members to totally understand the operating system, optimize the combined settings to obtain a serial of SEM images with great resolution.
- Image analysis. Once the TEM images have been collected, the EM members use DigitalMicrograph and other software to analyze images. The EM Core Manager interprets the data and provides all images to service contractors.
- Development of pre-embedding immunolabeling SEM.
- Development of new technology in correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM).