Research laboratory

Video sequence showing the principles of functioning of the transmission electron microscope.

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Transmission electron microscope

© Nicole Catellier, Cinémanima

Véronique Bougie

So, here we are in the electron microscopy lab. This is the electron microscope; it works on the same principle as the photon microscope except that here we use electro-magnetic lenses. So this is the main part of the microscope, the column, which is made up of four parts: the first, the illumination chamber, is made up of an anode, a cathode and a condenser. The second is the specimen chamber. The third is the image creator, which is comprised of three lenses, and the fourth one is the image captor, which is made up of cameras and the objectives.

So now I am going to load up my specimen so it can be viewed on either the objectives or on the screen. Now I am going to load my specimen to observe it under the microscope.

This is the specimen holder; I am going to load the specimen on this little hole. The specimen is on a grid, which is comprised of a metallic grid of 3mm in diameter coated with carbon and plastic, so the specimen is directly on that. Then I just add the cap to make sure that my specimen won’t go anywhere and I simply load it in the specimen chamber.

I will now observe my specimen with the microscope. The first thing I am going to do is apply a high voltage to the column, which will produce an electron beam and it’s going to come and hit my specimen and create a black on green image on the image captor. I am going to apply a voltage of 75 kilovolts, and then I am going to visualize with my binoculars and when I find a good specimen, I will produce a photo on the screen. Here we see some influenza viruses. After photographing the specimen, I print it out and I will have my images.