ACEMAC Nano Scale Electron Microscopy and Analysis Facility

ACEMAC Nano Scale Electron Microscopy and Analysis Facility

ACEMAC Nano scale electron microscopy and analysis facility

Aberdeen Centre for Electron Microscopy, Analysis and Characterisation (ACEMAC) is a facility open to users from across the university and beyond, housed in Meston Building Room 028A (King’s College, Old Aberdeen campus) and is based around a Carl Zeiss GeminiSEM 300 – high resolution Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) with SE (secondary electron), BSE (backscattered electron) and CL (cathodoluminescence) detectors. The GeminiSEM 300 can be operated in both high vacuum and variable pressure modes, enabling imaging of a wide variety of sample types, from steel to rocks to biological cells.

The SEM is equipped with Oxford Instruments EDS (AZtec energy) and EBSD (AZtecHKL) analytical systems.

  • Nano to microscale imaging (0.8 nm resolution at 15 kV)
  • Imaging of uncoated specimens in variable pressure mode
  • Elemental analysis and mapping (EDS)
  • Crystal structures and orientation/strain analysis (EBSD)
Use of Equipment
  • All users must have completed a training course before using the SEM and any detectors themselves
  • If you are unsure how to use the microscope, any of the detectors or the software, contact a member of staff for training. Do not attempt to use equipment you have not been trained on
  • Do not adjust the microscope if you do not know what you are doing; see a member of staff if you have a problem
  • Do not change or remove any detectors unless you have been shown how to carry this out
  • When you finish your session, co-ordinate with the next user and leave the SEM switched on; turning it off will cause significant damage (stay away from the buttons on the front of the SEM!)

First time users should contact John Still ( or To book the SEM online you must have completed an initial training course. This can easily be arranged by contacting

Trained users can book the ACEMAC SEM using Outlook shared calendars. If you have completed the appropriate training course, please book your required time in calendar OA-Meston-028A.

An hourly charge is applied for the use of facility equipment - see the Charges section for more information.


To arrange training please email

You must be trained on the Zeiss GeminiSEM by a member of facility staff before using it. This will usually be John Still ( – John is experienced with all types of samples, including but not limited to geological, chemical and materials samples.

In addition, Kevin Mackenzie ( and Debbie Wilkinson ( of the Microscopy and Histology Core Facility at the IMS (Foresterhill Campus) are permitted to train staff on the GeminiSEM 300 in ACEMAC. 

Note that users who have been trained on the CarlZeiss Evo10 SEM in the Microscopy and Histology Core Facility will still require training on the CarlZeiss Gemini300 SEM as there are some significant differences between these instruments.

  • Never switch off the instrument
  • Please keep Meston 028A tidy at all times 
  • Do not leave any samples in the lab unless otherwise agreed with facility staff; they may be thrown away if you do
  • Please bear in mind that this is a multi-user facility and that a breach of Health and Safety regulations could put other people at risk
  • Log your microscope session properly in the log book in the lab. Write clearly so others can understand it
  • Do not store your images on the PC, but store them onto the network instead. This means that if the hard drive develops a fault you don’t lose all your images. Copy and remove all your data from the acquisition PC as soon as possible, since these computers are purely for image acquisition and not for data storage
  • No liquids unless approved by facility staff 
  • No eating or drinking in the lab
  • Please report all equipment faults and possible damages to a member of the facility staff:
  • Be considerate of other users, and try to give at least 1 day’s notice if you need to cancel a session. If you book an instrument, show up on time. You may still be charged for booked time if you do not show up

Contact For an initial period ACEMAC will be free to internal users and will then remain competitively priced. ACEMAC is also open to external users, please contact us to discuss your requirements and for a competitive quote.

Acknowledging the Facility

It is important that you mention the facility in the acknowledgements section of any posters or papers you publish where you have used facility equipment. A sample phrase you could use would be "Electron Microscopy was performed in the ACEMAC Facility at the University of Aberdeen".

We also ask that you consider how much use you have made of staff time. If this goes beyond basic training and support please consider whether to acknowledge the staff member(s) by name or even include them as (a) co-author(s) as appropriate.

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