Who we are
The "Laboratory for Soft Matter Electron Microscopy" is part of the KeyLab "Electron and Optical Microscopy" of the Bavarian Polymer Institute (BPI) and a central facility of the Bayreuth Institute for Macromolecular Research (BIMF) and the Bayreuth Center for Colloids and Interfaces (BZKG). It is specialised to support all internal projects and also interacts with related projects of other university departments. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) of colloidal dispersions gains significance only by referring to the in situ state of the examined systems. The unique feature of TEM in colloid sciences as well as for investigations of e.g. polymeric samples is its potential to image ultrastructural details down to molecular dimensions in the context of complex systems. This can only be achieved if specimen preparation techniques are available which maintain the structural integrity of the colloidal objects.
All research projects, as well as service- and educational contributions are focussed on applying or modifiying established preparation techniques to colloidal systems and polymeric materials as well as developing new methods for specific requirements.
The mainly applied techniques for preparing polymer samples and colloidal dispersions are:
- Negative Staining
- Freeze Fracture and Freeze Etch Techniques
- Thin sectioning of embedded or pure polymer samples
In our laboratory only digital image acquisition and processing techniques are in use. Digital Imaging includes acquisition on the microscope, image processing with PCs and data storage on an image server easily accessible via the internet.