NEMINetherlands Electron Microscopy Infrastructure

Contact details:

Prof. dr. Judith Klumperman

New technical developments are revolutionizing electron microscopy. The Netherlands Electron Microscopy Infrastructure (NEMI) will unite the excellent EM centers in the Netherlands, with the goal of bringing together key instrumentation and expertise, and to provide access to these facilities. Establishing this national Infrastructure is urgent and necessary because of the high costs involved in the exploitation and continuous upgrading of top-end EMs. Positioning NEMI on the Roadmap is required to (1) keep NL at the forefront of innovation in EM and (2) perform top research in life sciences, material sciences and geosciences with an increasingly high demand for EM

Recent technological innovations in Electron Microscopy (EM) are causing a ‘resolution revolution’ in both life sciences and materials sciences, which has a major impact on a broad diversity of research areas. In the life sciences the development of direct electron detectors and novel image processing methods are propelling EM as new key method for molecular structural biology. Cellular structural biology is strongly impacted by the advent of block-face scanning EM and correlative light-EM. In the material sciences 3D reconstructions of materials at the atomic level has become a reality. These advanced structural characterizations can be combined with detailed physical analyses and real-time recording of dynamic, structural and chemical processes, impacting many research fields in physics, chemistry, health, nanoscience, and geoscience.
NL has a great tradition in EM, both in application of EM-based research and in technology development. For example, the worldwide market leader in EM (FEI) is based in Eindhoven and the recent revolutions have inspired the start of 3 new EM-oriented companies (Phenom, DELMIC and DENSsolutions). Particularly, NL has a very strong position in cryo-EM, correlative light–EM, in-situ TEM, liquid cell TEM, ultrafast EM, low-energy EM, and multi-beam technology.
Top-level EMs come at a cost of up to 10 M€, and the purchase and exploitation of EM facilities poses great challenges to the scientific society. Presently, the EM labs in NL operate mostly independently, but due to the increasing costs and specializations this model cannot be sustained into the future. The major EM labs present in NL here propose to form a joint NL EM infrastructure. Seven universities join forces (Utrecht, Delft, Eindhoven, Groningen, Leiden, Maastricht, and Nijmegen) to establish a Netherlands Electron Microscopy Infrastructure (NEMI). NEMI will include both scanning and transmission EM (SEM and TEM) and serve both the life and material sciences. The infrastructure of NEMI will be distributed, with locations focusing on particular methodologies, but with maximal benefit for the NL research community by sharing expertise, equipment, and coordinating funding opportunities. Positioning of NEMI on the Roadmap would greatly enhance the possibilities for generating national and European funding.
The NEMI infrastructure will include advanced methodologies including cryo-EM single particle analysis and tomography, block-face SEM and cryo-FIB/SEM, high-throughput 3D bio imaging, correlative light-EM, atomic-resolution 3D reconstruction, and in-situ, analytical, ultrafast, and low-energy EM. The NeCEN facility (Netherlands Centre for Nanoscopy), which is already on the Roadmap, could be part of this new national infrastructure. However, since NEMI is only in an early stage these applications are submitted separately, with the option to merge in a later phase. Also the two aberration-corrected TEMs present in Delft and Eindhoven will be included in NEMI, as well as the Soft Matter cryoTitan in Eindhoven. NEMI will collaborate strategically with the Roadmap facilities NL-BioImaging AM (light microscopy) NanoLabNL (nanotechnology) and NSEO (geoscience).

Connection to strategic developments
High Tech Systemen en Materialen
Life Sciences & Health
Health and Food