The environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) is used to image, analyze, and perform sample manipulations under controlled environments. It has the advantage of performing analysis at cryogenic temperatures and at variable humidity and variable pressure. The cryogenic feature preserves a sample’s native environment, and it is particularly valuable for exploration of beam-sensitive materials and naturally hydrated geological and biological specimens.
ESEM is also used for cryo-focused ion beam milling of specimens with internal micro and nanostructures and where cryopreservation is required. The ESEM is suitable for conducting dynamic temperature experiments at variable humidity, such as ice nucleation studies, that are applicable to atmospheric sciences. The ESEM is equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy detector that can perform particle-by-particle analysis applicable to atmospheric sciences.
In general, this specialized electron microscope is applicable to environmental systems where it is critical to understand underlying microbial-plant-soil interactions by preserving the specimens in their pristine, hydrated form.
- Supporting the Biogeochemical Transformations Integrated Research Platform, these resources examine the interplay between geology, chemistry, and biology in soil ecosystems, which are critical for how nutrients and chemical compounds move and change in the environment.
- Supporting the Terrestrial– Atmospheric Processes Integrated Research Platform, these resources aim at examining and quantifying key biogeochemical processes between critical zone, aquatic, atmospheric, and deep subsurface boundaries.
- Supporting the Structural Biology Integrated Research Platform, the cryo-SEM examines microbial structure, which gives insights on the organism’s response to environmental stresses.
- Supporting the Rhizosphere Function Integrated Research Platform, these resources aim to probe the complex interactions between plants and the environment, including microbes and soil that lead to specific plant traits. Understanding these interactions can facilitate selecting resilient plant attributes, such as drought resistance.
- Quanta 3D – Dual Beam
Tips for success
- Polished thin sections are recommended for accurate quantification analysis.