Umeå University - UmU, BICU & UCEM

Biochemical Imaging Centre Umeå

Umeå Core facility for Electron Microscopy

The facilities for advanced fluorescent imaging (Biochemical Imaging Centre Umeå BICU) and electron microscopy (Umeå Core facility for Electron Microscopy UCEM) collaborate to provide state-of-the art super-resolution microscopy, live cell confocal microscopy, atomic force microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, cryo-preparation and sectioning equipment. The correlative use of instruments provides direct fluorescence examination of protein localization and function, coupled to ultra-structural analysis of the same specimen using atomic force or electron microscopy.

Project Coordinators

Linda Sandblad –

Richard Lundmark –


Light Microscopy: Light Microscopy is a very well known technique that employs visible light to detect small objects. We provide a wide range of techniques within Light Microscopy, including: widefield microscopy, confocal microscopy, spinning disk confocal microscopy, Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) and Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF). The microscopes are integrated with microinjection and microfluidic devices to facilitate acute and controlled administration of molecules during experiments.

Transmission Electron Microscopy: Transmission Electron Microscopy, TEM, is an imaging-technique to observe samples such as proteins, viruses, bacteria or ultrathin sections of cells and tissue (50-300nm). With TEM you are able to observe your samples at a higher resolution than light microscopy. The TEM uses electrons that are scattered differently depending on the electron density of the sample, these differences form your image.

Scanning Electron Microcopy: Scanning electron microscopy, SEM, is an eminent microscopy technique for analyzing surface features of micro- and nanoscale, by creating high-resolution images from the interaction between electron beam and sample surface. The ease of sample preparation and microscope operation makes SEM a suitable tool for a wide range of applications in multidisciplinary sciences and industry. With the recent advancement in correlative light-electron and in-situ electron microscopy, SEM is a potential candidate for visualizing high-magnification fluorescent-labeled samples and samples response under stimulus in real time, respectively.

Cryo Electron Microscopy: Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is the EM methods of choice for visualization of hydrated proteins, viruses, cells and small organisms. The samples are plunge frozen in liquid ethane, preserved in amorphous ice and imaged under cryo-condition (liquid nitrogen conditions). Single particle 3D reconstruction methodology is used for structure biology studies. Cryo-electron tomography is a used to visualize the native structure of, macromolecular complexes, cellular organelles or compartments.

Atomic Force Microscopy: Atomic Force Microscopy, AFM, is a type of scanning probe microscopy, with demonstrated resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, more than 1000 times better than the optical diffraction limit. The information is gathered by "feeling" or "touching" the surface with a mechanical probe. Simultaneous with the acquisition of topographical images, other properties of the sample can be measured locally and displayed as an image, often with similarly high resolution. Examples of such properties are mechanical properties like stiffness or adhesion strength.

Affinity Measurements: Complementary to the imaging instruments, the Centre provides equipment for precise affinity measurements on surfaces or in solution using Surface Plasmon Resonance, Ligand-tracer and Isothermal Titration Calorimetry.