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The ER-C is a key part of the European landscape of infrastructures for the characterization of materials using advanced techniques and instrumentation.

The latest generation of TEM instrumentation is capable of sub-Ångström spatial resolution, sub-100-meV energy resolution and provides important information about the structures, chemical compositions and functional properties of materials across disciplines that include materials science, physics, chemistry, engineering, biology and medicine.

LandscapeMap depicting the approximate location of Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany; the orange dots indicate the current electron microscopy facilities in Europe.

TEM provides complementary information to many synchrotron-based techniques and near-field microscopies. In the physical sciences, samples can be studied at either high or low temperature, as well as in liquid environments and in the presence of gases similar to those used in commercial processes. Phase contrast methods in the TEM provide nanometer scale imaging of magnetic, electric and strain fields that can be used to study operating nanoelectronic and spintronic devices in time and space.

In biology, TEM under cryogenic conditions (cryo EM) is the most rapidly growing method used in the study of biological macromolecules, especially proteins and viruses. The development of advanced direct electron detectors has been key for this transformation. This field is now expanding to include studies of macromolecules in a cellular environment, with direct relevance to medicine. In materials science and chemistry, TEM has made significant contributions to studies of new materials for energy, including batteries, solar cells and green catalysts, in particular for understanding the relationship between structure and function in critical system components such as cathode materials in post-Li-ion batteries.

In physics, the spatial and spectral resolution available in the TEM have advanced our understanding of plasmonics, quantum materials. Furthermore, recent developments in time-resolved TEM are able to probe fundamental electron-photon interactions. In engineering and nanoscience, TEM is used for studies of new structural materials, including ceramics, complex alloys and semiconductor device structures. This work has benefited from the commercial development of in situ sample environments.