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The course "Transmission Electron Microscopy in Life Sciences" is aimed at beginners and intermediate users of transmission electron microscopes in biomedicine. It will devote about equal time to the theory and to practical use of microscopes. The course is limited to 15 participants and during practical sessions the participants will be divided into three groups. The techniques discussed at theoretical sessions will be demonstrated on three transmission electron microscopes of varying complexity - the simplest Morgagni, more complex Philips CM 100 and the most powerful Tecnai T20. After the course, the participants should understand the principles of construction and function of transmission electron microscopes, should be able to align the microscope for optimal performance, to identify and eliminate most common aberrations and alignment artifacts, to understand the principles of image generation in transmission electron microscopy, and to identify optimal ways of image acquisition. The participants will be also given up-to-date information about best ways of sample preparation for transmission electron microscopy, and about recent transmission electron microscopy trends in biomedicine. Participants are encouraged to bring their own samples on 3.05 mm TEM grids. There will be ample opportunity for the participants to discuss their specific problems with the faculty. The course will be taught in English.

Prof. Pavel Hozák (Institute of Molecular Genetics, AS CR, v.v.i., Prague)
Dr. Wim Busing and Malcolm Warrand (FEI)

Laboratory of Biology of the Cell Nucleus
Institute of Molecular Genetics AS CR, Vídeňská 1083, Prague 4 - Krč, Czech Republic

Course content

I. Theoretical background
Introduction to transmission electron microscopy, general construction of transmission electron microscopes; filament (Wehnelt), apertures, lenses, Cs, Cc and focal length, high tension; alignments, TEM imaging bright/dark field, resolution, in-focus, over and under focus, astigmatism (condenser, objective and diffraction astigmatism), contrast; digital cameras; filter technology; the highest resolution in Life Sciences, best practice in biology; sample preparation and cryo-electron microscopy. Future prospects of TEM in biomedicine.

II. Practical sessions
Apertures, condenser and objective apertures, SA-aperture; adjusting the filament, demonstration of bias, C1 and C2 lenses, lifetime of filament, consequences of high bias and current; specimen eucentric position, focusing the microscope, wobbler usage; optimizing brightness (light), high tension; correcting astigmatism, the methods used on minimum contrast used by material scientists and the Hole method in combination with under-focus/over-focus; direct alignments, alignment procedures, test specimens; dark field (conical), wobbler adjustment.