Electron Microscopy

The EM Unit is specialized in transmission electron microscopy for biological samples but we are open to all scientific disciplines. Our aim is to provide high-quality EM services, training, and access to specialized equipment for all IGC, external academic or corporate users.
We tailor, optimize, and develop methods adapted to your scientific questions. Please consult the equipment and techniques listed under the tabs “Equipment” and “Services & Techniques”. If you have questions and/or want to start a project please contact the unit.

Location: Main Building
Contacts: +351 214 464 676 @: [email protected] ;  [email protected]  


General EM Unit Policies

For a general overview of the general IGC Scientific Support Units policies, please see: <insert link to general policies>.  Please be aware that these General EM Unit Policies are a short extension of the general terms of use of all IGC Scientific Support Units,  and you need to be aware of both documents. Anyone may request to use the Electron Microscopy Unit (EMU), including external scientists and corporations. However, priority is given to researchers from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência.

To start a project at the EMU, it is necessary to send an email to the Unit Head Erin Tranfield ([email protected]). A meeting will be booked to discuss the purpose of the project and to evaluate the feasibility depending on time, complexity and equipment availability. All users will be charged for consumables and equipment usage, training and technical assistance. A price list is available upon request and a quote with an estimation of cost will be done before the service begins.

All the work done at the EMU must be acknowledged in publications. In the event that facility staff have done extensive work and substantially contributed to the success of the project, authorship should be considered and discussed on a case-by-case basis.


EM Unit Equipment Usage Policies 

Booking of EM Unit equipment and technical support is limited to facility working hours (09:30 am to 05:30 pm). An extended period of usage may be possible with at least 72 hours notice to the facility staff. If a user decides not to use the equipment the reservation must be deleted. Deleting or modifying reservations must occur 24 hours prior to the reserved time slot.

If reservations are modified or cancelled within 24 hours of usage then cancellation fees will be charged. If a user is more than 15 minutes late for their scheduled booking they will forfeit their booking to whomever is on the waiting list for the equipment. 

Log books must be used to record start time and end time for each instrument session. Furthermore any problems encountered during the session should be documented in the log book.


EM Unit Safety Policies

All areas of the Electron Microscopy Unit,  including the microscopes and microtomes rooms, are considered part of the laboratory and are a working space. For this reason, food or drinks are only allowed in pre-approved “office” areas inside the facility.

The Electron Microscopy Unit has many different dangerous chemicals and tools. To prevent any injuries, all Electron Microscopy Unit users must receive training when working within the Electron Microscopy Unit.  Please contact any member of the Electron Microscopy Unit Team if you have questions or you wish to receive any kind of training. 

In the case of all accidents or spills, please report the incident to Tiago Carneiro. If you notice for any reason that your safety is compromised (any smell, spill, accident), please contact the unit staff AND our Biosafety Officer, Tiago Carneiro at Ext 4664.



FEI Tecnai G2 Spirit BioTWIN Transmission Electron Microscope
Hitachi H-7650 Transmission Electron Microscope
Leica UC7 / FC7 Ultramicrotome
Wholwend Compact 2 High Pressure Freezer
Leica AFS2 with the Leica EM FSP Robot
PELCO Biowave Pro+ Sample Processing System With SteadyTemp Pro
Q150T ES High Vacuum Carbon/Metal Coater
PELCO easiGlow Glow Discharge Cleaning System
Olympus IX81 inverted fluorescence microscope
Diverse Stereomicroscopes


The EMF Users can request all levels of support from full service, to training to become fully independent.

Sample preservation at room temperature using chemical preservation methods. 

Chemical processing that uses microwave radiation to speed up fixative penetration and sample preservation.

Sample preservation at cryogenic temperatures followed by chemical processing at low temperatures.

Contrast shadowing with heavy metal salts of the surface features on isolated samples (e.g. bacteria, viruses).

The labeling of structures with gold particles attached to specific antibodies.

The correlation of the same structure in the same sample by light microscopy and electron microscopy.

Ultrastructural observation of samples using transmission electron microscopes.

Data acquisition while tilting the sample to give 3D perspective on sample ultrastructure.



Check the papers here.




Updated on 06 december 2022

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