Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy Centre (LEMAS)

LEMAS is jointly run by the Schools of Chemical & Process Engineering and Earth & Environment at Leeds and aims to develop and underpin Imaging and Characterisation techniques for the examination of the morphology, structure and chemical composition of Advanced Materials, including soft materials, drawn from the physical, engineering and geosciences. LEMAS serves almost 400 users not only from across the University but also from many outside Higher Education institutions as well as industry.


Imaging Platforms

Keywords - Electron Microscopy: Transmission EM | Scanning Transmission EM | Electron tomography | Scanning EM (Tungsten) | Scanning EM (FEG) | Focused Ion Beam SEM Z Cryo-TEM

LEMAS houses a range of scanning electron microscopes. Our facilities can be broken down into the following three categories:

Transmission electron microscopy

  • FEI Tecnai TF20: FEGTEM Field emission gun TEM/STEM fitted with HAADF detector, Oxford Instruments INCA 350 EDX system/80mm X-Max SDD detector and Gatan Orius SC600A CCD camera.
  • FEI Titan3 Themis 300: X-FEG 300 kV S/TEM with S-TWIN objective lens, monochromator (energy spread approx. 0.25 eV), multiple HAADF/ADF/BF STEM detectors, FEI Super-X 4-detector EDX system, Gatan Quantum ER energy filter for EELS and EFTEM and Gatan OneView 4K CMOS digital camera.    
  • Special TEM sample facilities: (i) 2 double tilt analytical holders, (ii) Tilt/rotate analytical cooling holder, (iii) Bench-mounted ex-situ reaction/heating cell with vacuum transfer facility, (iv) Fischione plasma cleaner, (v) Gatan model 628 single tilt heating holder - up to 1200C, (vi) Nanofactory combined Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM) and TEM holder.
  • TEM Sample Preparation: (i) Gatan PIPS low angle ion beam thinner, (ii) Gatan Duomill with sample cooling facility (iii) 2 Dimplers, (iv) Range of Coating units.

Dualbeam FIB

  • FEI Helios G4 CX DualBeam - High resolution monochromated FEGSEM with precise Focused Ion Beam (FIB).
  • In-situ TEM sample preparation and Slice&View acquisition of multi signal 3D data sets.
  • Oxford Instruments Aztec EDS with 150mm SDD detector.
  • Quorum Technologies PP3010T Cryo-SEM system.


Scanning electron microscopy

  • Hitachi SU8230: high performance cold field emission(CFE) SEM with Oxford Instruments Aztec Energy EDX system with 80mm X-Max SDD detector - Ultra high resolution, low kV, Simultaneous SE, BSE, BF and DF imaging, with nanoscale resolution as well as nanoscale EDX capabilities.
  • Carl Zeiss EVO MA15: variable pressure W SEM with Oxford Instruments AZtecEnergy EDX system with 80mm X-Max SDD detector- secondary and backscattered imaging, EDX elemental mapping and linescans plus CZ STEM detector.
  • FEI Quanta 650: FEGESEM environmental SEM with Oxford Instruments INCA 350 EDX system/80mm X-Max SDD detector, EBSD and KE Centaurus EBSD system.SEM for orientation imaging, texture analysis etc with environmental capabilities.
  • Jeol 8230: dedicated electron microprobe with 5 spectrometers, EDS/EDX capabilities- for quantitative mapping and microanalysis.
  • Tescan VEGA3 XM. Tungsten source machine with large chamber and high sample throughput, equipped with X-max 150 SDD EDS and Aztec 3.3 software, also RGB filtered CL system.


Keywords - Biological: Bio-materials | Food
Keywords – Physical Sciences: Bioengineering and biomaterials | Electron Optics | Plasmonics | Metallurgy / alloy development | Corrosion / oxidation | Functional oxides | Semiconductors and optoelectronics | Nanomaterials (nanoparticles, 2D nanomaterials, nanowires and nanotubes) | Composites | Geology / mineralogy | Planetary sciences | Optical and photonic materials and devices | Magnetics, magnetic materials and spintronics | Catalysts | Polymers and organic electronics | Ionic conductors, fuel cells and batteries | Pharmaceuticals

LEMAS has a very wide user base and deals with a range of different hard and soft materials systems.
Specialist technologies include: High spatial resolution microanalysis and imaging; Light element composition; Elemental distributions; Chemical state information; Segregation phenomena; Imaging microporous materials; Cross sectional microscopy and analysis. Specialist research areas include: Nanomaterials; Metallurgy; Ceramics/minerals; Biomaterials; Composite materials; Powders and Particulate Formulations; Interfaces/surfaces.

Sample Preparation

Keywords - Biological: Resin embedding | Ultrathin sectioning | Plunge Freezing
Keywords – Materials: Argon ion thinning | Focussed ion beam (Gallium) | Electropolishing | Tripod polishing

LEMAS contains a suite of sample preparation equipment covering both hard and soft materials. LEMAS staff can provide advice and help with sample preparation and sample cleaning. Electron microscopy sample preparation equipment includes: a Dualbeam FIB, a Gatan PIPS low angle ion beam thinner, a Gatan Duomill with sample cooling facility, dimplers,an ultrasonic cutter, polishing, grinding and cutting facilities, an Ultramicrotome, a Range of Coating units, Oxygen and Ozone Plasma Cleaners, as well as access to Cleanroom facilities.

Data Analysis

Keywords - Software: ImageJ | Imaris | Matlab | Digital Micrograph / GMS | HR-STEM simulation packages (various) | HRTEM simulation packages (various) | Other Image simulation for crystals | Hyperspy

Data analysis packages are available within LEMAS as well as guidance on how to process, quantify and simulate your data.

Shared Access

LEMAS is an open-access small research facility (SRF) for internal and external users, enquiries and bookings can be made through the facility staff. Microscope access can be fully assisted or non-assisted and is charged in 3/4 hour sessions at a flat rate for each instrument. LEMAS forms part of an EPSRC-funded Leeds EPSRC Nanoscience and Nanotechnology user Facility (LENNF) - based within Engineering, Earth Sciences and Physics at Leeds and funded from 2008 until 2016 currently. LENNF offers UK EPSRC-eligible researchers “free at point of use” pump-priming access to a range of complementary techniques and associated expertise for the analysis and modification of Advanced Materials particularly nanostructured materials and nanodevices.


The majority of the funding for LEMAS is won in open competition from funding agencies worldwide, with the majority coming from UK government sources. HEFCE, EPSRC, NERC and to a lesser extent BBSRC and MRC provides a large proportion of the funding in the form of responsive mode funding and strategic equipment funding. The University of Leeds, the European Research Council and Industry are also funders of the research and the capital equipment. LEMAS has a strategic partnership with Oxford Instruments.

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