What is volume electron microscopy?

Understanding of function of intracellular organelles, compartments, and other structures often requires the visualization and quantification of their organization and interactions in 3D space.  Volume electron microscopy or volume EM (vEM) was named one of Nature’s Technologies to Watch in 2023.  The emerging field of volume EM refers to a variety of imaging approaches and processing techniques that uses electron microscopy to explore below the surface of cellular ultrastructure, tissue, and small model organisms in 3D, at micron to millimeter volume scales, at nanometer-level resolutions, and even at native state under cryogenic conditions.

Our volume EM solutions allow you to observe how tissues, cells, and organelles respond to diseases or various experimental methods. Our volume EM microscopes offer integrated solutions for correlative light and electron microscopy, multiple plasma ion-sources, large area automated serial fib SEM milling (up to 1 mm with Spin Mill), and room temperature and cryogenic operation. When combined with cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) or cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET), volume EM enables direct observation of molecular interactions in the cellular ultrastructure.  

Volume electron microscopy methods

Plasma focused ion beam SEM

Versatile, high-throughput cellular FIB-SEM tomography for large-volume and 3D analysis at room temperature or under cryo conditions. Image large areas with Spin Mill method for planar milling up to 1 mm.

Serial block-face imaging

A complete in situ microtome sectioning workflow. Excellent Z-resolution when combined with multi-energy deconvolution scanning electron microscopy (MED-SEM). The automation and ease-of-use increases your productivity, granting isotropic resolution for your large volume samples.

Array tomography

Turn any Thermo Scientific SEM into a volume EM microscope with the addition of automated array tomography.

TEM tomography

Hardware and software for the intuitive and automated collection of tilt series, tomogram reconstruction, and segmentation to reveal the 3D shape and organization of imaged intracellular structures in the tomogram.

Integrative fluorescence light microscopy for correlative imaging

The Thermo Scientific iFLM Correlative System is integrated inside the high-vacuum chamber, allowing you to combine fluorescence imaging and electron imaging for correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) at room temperature or under cryo conditions. The system includes connectivity to our AutoTEM milling software for easy targeting of regions of interest.

Auto Slice & View Software for FIB tomography

Thermo Scientific Auto Slice & View 5 Software allows for automated acquisition of high-resolution 3D images and analytical maps. It acquires data by milling serial sections and then imaging each slice of a user-defined region of interest of the sample.