Institute of Optics and Atomic Physics

Experimental Compulsory Elective Subject on Electron Microscopy (Physics MSc)


Electron microscopy is one of the most important investigation methods for structure analysis in solids. The spectrum of possibilities is extremely broad, from imaging to diffraction to spectroscopy. The experimental compulsory elective module on Electron Microscopy in the Master's program in Physics focuses on advanced methods mainly from transmission electron microscopy, since there are exciting developments here especially from a physical point of view in connection with the latest numerical approaches. Within the compulsory elective Electron Microscopy we, i.e. the members of the AG Lehmann, would like to explain not only the basics, but also to show you the new interesting possibilities. The experimental cpompulsory elective subject is structured as follows:

  • Electron Microscopy I: Lecture always in winter semester
  • TEM laboratory practical course: Semester-accompanying laboratory practical course starting probably in the lecture-free period between winter and summer semester (limited number of participants!). The registration takes place in the lecture Electron Microscopy I until Christmas. Prerequisite: Lecture Electron Microscopy I)
  • Electron Microscopy II: Lecture always in summer semester

It is possible to start in the summer semester without any problems! Current information can be found in the course catalog and in the ISIS system of the TU Berlin.

Lecture Electron Microscopy I

The basis for the lecture is the knowledge that particles with a non-zero velocity have wave properties. Electrons can consequently be described as matter waves. The interaction of the electron wave with an object in a transmission electron microscope and its imaging through electromagnetic lenses are described in the context of wave optics, which is applicable to all areas of optics. The lecture will discuss the following in more detail:

  • Electron waves
  • Fourier optics and Fourier transform
  • Electron-Object Interaction
  • Partial Coherence
  • Aberration imaging
  • Electron holography

Further details about the lecture can be found in the course catalogue (WiSe 2023/24) and on the ISIS-pages.

TEM Lab Practical

After important basics of wave optics in the TEM have been laid in the lecture Electron Microscopy I, the knowledge will be deepened by practical experience on state-of-the-art electron microscopes. In detail, the following contents will be experienced through introductory lectures and videos as well as through intensive practical work:

  • TEM cross-section preparation of a patterned semiconductor chip
  • TEM basics, relationship between diffraction images and atomic-resolution images
  • Diffraction experiments and crystallography
  • Basics of imaging by scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM)
  • Electron holography of p-n junctions

Lecture Electron Microscopy II

The lecture Electron Microscopy II focuses on two aspects: First, we will discuss the individual elements of a transmission electron microscope and introduce their physical principles. In the second part of the lecture we will discuss conventional imaging methods as well as state-of-the-art methods of imaging, diffraction and spectroscopy in TEM and STEM. The lecture is structured as follows:

  • Setup of a transmission electron microscope (TEM)
  • Electron beam sources and monochromators
  • Magnetic lenses and their image errors, Cs corrector
  • Detectors
  • Conventional TEM contrast methods
  • Basics STEM
  • Analytical S/TEM

Further information on the lecture can be found in the course catalogue (SoSe 2024) and on the corresponding ISIS-pagesDue to the research semester, the lecture will not start until May 15, 2024!


The lecture Electron Microscopy I in the winter semester together with the successful completion of the TEM lab practical (protocol => Praktikumsschein) will be completed with an oral exam and rewarded with 9 ECTS points as an experimental compulsory elective module. This can then be completed during the summer semester (=> module description Electron Microscopy  (9 LP) - Phy18). If you also attend the second lecture in the summer semester (Electron Microscopy II), you can also be orally examined on both lectures plus TEM lab practical instead. This is rewarded with 12 ECTS and can be completed within one year as your experimental compulsory elective (=> module description Electron Microscopy (12 LP) - Phy18).