Defects on electroplated metal
Defects on electroplated metal. This image is 0.15mm across.

PMCN: electron microscopy for business and industry

The Plymouth Materials Characterisation Network is offering free access to our facilities and expertise for Devon-based SMEs, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This project gives companies the chance to use high-tech science to develop new products, solve problems, or simply to see their products in a new light. Our helpful team of technicians have experience in a wide range of fields and will work with you to get the best possible results.
Companies can continue to sign up to PMCN until 31 March 2023 by emailing us at

Welcome to Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre (PEMC)

Here at PEMC, we provide expert and specialist support to students, researchers, academics, business, and industry. We have a comprehensive range of light and electron microscopes which cater to a wide range of disciplines within the University, external research organisations, and industry clients. Our equipment is integrated with sophisticated software for image analysis, data processing and X-ray characterisation of materials, with facilities for rapid report generation.
Electron microscopy is an incredible analytical tool that utilises a high-powered beam of electrons to create high resolution images at high magnifications, to investigate elemental composition, and to explore crystallographic structures. Our dedicated technical team are on hand to provide expert guidance from sample preparation through to analysis and data processing. 
If you would like to access our facilities, please contact us using the information provided below.

Teaching and training at PEMC:

We teach electron microscopy modules on a range of courses within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, including mechanical engineering, chemistry and earth sciences. This collaborative approach to teaching also enhances our links with these different areas of expertise, meaning that we can draw on their expertise to provide a full analytical service to all customers. Please contact the Faculty Office for Science and Engineering for details of individual courses on
We also offer teaching and practical training courses internally, introducing electron microscopy and its associated techniques. These courses are designed specifically for each of the major schools that use electron microscopy. One of the Technical Specialists from the lab will give the teaching seminar and there will be time for questions and discussion at the end. Please refer to the individual course details for further information.

PEMC offers:

  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
  • Focused Ion Beam-Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM)
  • Low-vacuum SEM (VP-SEM)
  • Cryo-SEM 
  • Electron BackScatter Diffraction (EBSD)
  • Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS)
  • Wavelength Dispersive Spectroscopy (WDS)
  • Tomography (3D acquisition and reconstruction)
  • Cathodoluminescence imaging (CL)
  • Automated Mineralogy 
  • Sample preparation for S/TEM, including resin-embedding, polished blocks, thin sections
  • Specimen coating, including gold, chrome, carbon, gold-palladium