Imaging

The Electron Probe Instrumentation Center (EPIC) facility offers a wide range of electron microscopy (both transmission and scanning), accessory instrumentation, and expertise to the scientific and engineering community through education, collaboration, and service. The laboratory provides facilities for the preparation and examination of many types of bulk and thin specimens (foils/films), fine particles, and replicas, including biological materials, by transmission and scanning electron microscopy.

Collectively, the Electron Probe Instrumentation Center (EPIC) offers instrumentation, techniques, and expertise for all aspects of microstructure materials. Detailed information about surface morphology, size and shape analysis, local chemistry, crystallography, and texture can be obtained with the scanning electron microscopes (SEM). The SEM facility has five SEMs with digital image acquisition, including four equipped with field emission gun (FEG), EDS, WDS, and EBSD systems. The facility also has a dual beam SEM/FIB and both Ion and Electron Beam Lithography capabilities.  The transmission electron microscopes (TEM) allow researchers to probe the crystal structure, defects, local chemistry, electronic structure, and related information at the nanometer or less length scale. The TEM facility currently has four TEMs, including Scanning Transmission Electorn Microscopy (STEM) capabilities. The Hitachi HD2300 STEM is configured with a unique dual EDS system for ultrahigh collection angle EDS, The in-situ S/TEM HT7700 comes with a set of special specimen holders for in-situ experiments. The JEOL JEM2100F FEG TEM/STEM has sub 0.2nm probe capability, equipped with high-angle annular dark field (HAADF) detector, which gives atomic resolution of Z-contrast imaging of STEM. Three of the microscopes are equipped with Liquid Nitrogen cryo stages for biological sample observations.  The BioCryo facility of EPIC provides researchers with access to cryo electron microscopy and to an array of electron-probe based imaging and microanalytical methods. Techniques include SE-, TE-, and Z-contrast imaging, electron diffraction, Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), and Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS). 

Both SEM and TEM facilities are equipped with specialized specimen stages for dynamic studies involving deformation, fracture, current transport, applied electrical and magnetic fields, and temperature variation from -184 ° C to 1000 ° C. The diversity and quality of SEM and TEM instrumentation, along with the numerous analytical accessories, makes EPIC one of the most advanced laboratories in the country.  The BioCryo facility offers expertise and support for planning and conducting cryo and conventional electron microscopy studies on biological samples (e.g. suspensions of molecules and particles, cells and tissues), as well as on nanoparticles, polymers, hydrogels, and other materials. Researchers can be trained to become independent users of our instrumentation and techniques. For more information on this facility, click here.

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Atom Probe Tomography (APT) produces a three-dimensional (3D) atom-by-atom image of a sample, with sub-nanometer spatial resolution and a typically 150 x 150 x 500 nm^3 analyzed volume, by simultaneous high resolution imaging and time of flight mass spectrometry. APT is particularly suited to study nano or nanostructured materials. The same samples can also be characterized by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), in a correlative study. To compare these experimental results with atomistic simulations on the same size scale, ab-initio calculations and Monte-Carlo simulations can be performed at our facility. NUCAPT operates a CAMECA LEAP 4000 XSi tomograph. Specimen tips can be prepared by electropolishing (metals) and from almost any material by FIB ( Focused-ion beam milling ). Ion beam sputter deposition creates thin film structures that aid with APT specimen preparation. Vacuum arc melting systems are available for syntesizing alloys and compounds. Thermocalc and MEDEA software packages are available for thermodynamic calculations and materials simulations.  For more information about this facility, click here.

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The Biological Imaging Facility (BIF) is a shared-use research and training resource available to all NU researchers. BIF is organized so users can prepare samples, capture and analyze images, and create final presentations in one facility. Training for all instruments is available on a regular basis so users can acquire data quickly and efficiently. We are continuously looking for new ways to enhance existing equipment, acquire new tools, and keep pace with current techniques. For more information about this facility, click here.

For the Research Newsletter article featuring BIF, click here

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The  Pathology Core Facility (PCF) of Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (RHLCCC) at Northwestern University is established in 1997.  PCF is functionally divided into three divisions/units, including core lab, biorepository and clinical trials unit.  Core lab includes all related tasks of routine histology, immunohistochemistry, molecular work, and digital pathology (all aspects of a research-based anatomic pathology laboratory including formalin fixation and paraffin embedding, automated and manual immunohistochemistry, tissue microarray design and construction, and automated whole slide scanning for digital pathology applications, including advanced image analysis capabilities). Biorepository division includes tissue and biospecimen procurement (a workflow that complements clinical patient care, the consent procedures which include statement of basic, translational and clinical research and PDX studies for potential therapies), detailed sample annotation (pre-analytic variables such as cold post-surgery time, frozen section evaluation, specimen tracking, and a quality management program); and well-controlled biospecimens and procedures (ensuring that clinically meaningful and reproducible data emerge from investigation). The clinical trials unit (CTU) provides service of institution, regional and national network and prepares trial cases of fast turnaround time and high quality trial materials and patients’ satisfaction. In conjunction with the Cancer Center’s Clinical Trials Office, the clinical trials unit participates in both industry based clinical trials and investigator initiated clinical trials. 

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The Quantitative Bio-element Imaging Center (QBIC) provides researchers with access to state-of-the-art imaging and quantification instrumentation while supporting its use with an expert technical staff that offers a range of services, including instrument training, sample preparation and analysis, experiment design, and grant proposal assistance.  The combination of both extremely high sensitivity elemental analysis and high resolution imaging enables QBIC customers to perform cutting edge experiments with ample staff support. For more information about this facility, click here. 

 

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The Center for Advanced Microscopy (CAM) at Northwestern offers state-of-the art instrumentation and services for the study of biological processes at the whole animal, tissue, cellular and subcellular levels. The facility's basic services include electron microscopy, super resolution microscopy (SIM & STORM), fluorescent laser scanning and spinning disk microscopy, fluorescent lifetime imaging, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy microscopy, automated high throughput tissue cytometry, laser capture microdissection, mutliphoton imaging, and whole animal bioluminescent and fluorescent imaging. Additionally we provide microinjection equipment, chambers for stable live cell observation, and anesthesia equipment. CAM staff members provide training on numerous different instrument platforms, consultation on experiment design, as well as digital image processing and image analysis. We are a reference site for several companies including TissueGnostics and ISS (developer of the ISS ALBA). CAM is one of three Nikon Imaging Centers in the US, allowing us access and excellent support from Nikon to develop innovative solutions for the cutting edge imaging needs of users. This relationship has allowed our users to push super-resolution technologies to permit multi-color, 3D and live-cell applications. Additionally, we have been working together with Nikon to add confocal laser scanning to a low magnification upright dissection microscope, which is particularly useful to researchers interested in visualizing thick samples (such as epidermal raft cultures) at increased cellular resolution. We are also currently expanding our full service electron microscopy offerings. Recently, we obtained a Leica Freeze Substitution Unit for TEM sample preparation allowing for improved sample quality and streamlined work-flow.

Please feel free to contact us with questions.

For the Research Newsletter featuring CAM, please click here.

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CAMI staff

The Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging (CAMI) provides access to imaging modalities ranging from the nanometer scale to whole animal imaging. These include MRI, nuclear imaging (PET, SPECT, and CT), in vivo bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging, animal housing and prep spaces, and tissue culture.  Image analysis services are available, as are software packages (JIM, Amira, Matlab) and a workstation for users to perform their own data analysis.  Imaging services can be provided for investigators' own animal models, or animal models can be supplied by the Developmental Therapeutics Core.

CAMI also houses a 2 photon confocal microscope operated by QBIC and atomic force microscopes operated by NIFTI.

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Analytical BioNanoTechnology Equipment Core (ANTEC) houses research equipment for the evaluation of materials and biological preparations in the bionanotechnology laboratory.  The core primarily serves Northwestern University researchers, and is open for visiting scientists and local industry researchers.

Some of the ANTEC equipment is unique to Chicago campus, including: Zetasizer Nano ZSP for zeta potential measurements, molecular weight determination, and advanced characterization of proteins, polymers, and other macromolecules; a state-of-the-art Cytation3 Automated Imager and Multimodal Plate Reader for fluorescence, luminescence, absorption assays and automatic cell imaging; two FreeZone 6 lyophilizers for freeze drying of biological and synthetic materials, a SpectraMax M5 Microplate Reader, a real-time CFX-Connect PCR detection system, a Kodak gel imaging system, an Azure300 Chemiluminescence Imager and a refrigerated centrifuge.  NanoSight NS300 with a fluorescence detection capability for nanoparticle characterization, will be located in the J-Wing of Evanston Tech building.

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