firefox fix
EPIC Staff: Staff and VPD researchers publish paper in Experimental Cell ResearchEPIC: TEM Zinc sparks induce physiochemical changes in the egg zona pellucida that prevent polyspermyCryoSEM Worksop 2016EPIC: BioCryoEPIC: SEM

EPIC Staff: Staff and VPD researchers publish paper in Experimental Cell Research

A research paper entitled "The effects of chemical fixation on the cellular nanostructure," co-authored by NUANCE's Eric W. Roth, Reiner Bleher, Vinayak Dravid, and members Professor Dravid's research group, has been published in the journal Experimental Cell Research.

Find out more


Image Contest 2016 TEM entries. LEFT: "Nano Fern Leaves" by Assistant Research Professor Kai He, taken with a JEOL 2100F TEM. RIGHT: "Purple Phaze" by graduate student Jann Grovogui, taken with a Hitachi HT-7700 Biological TEM.

Find out more

Zinc sparks induce physiochemical changes in the egg zona pellucida that prevent polyspermy

EPIC Biocryo facility manager Reiner Bleher and Biocryo specialist Eric W. Roth recently co-authored a paper published in the journal Integrative Biology. Using EPIC's SEMs and TEMs, the research team led by Northwestern scientists Theresa Woodruff and Thomas O’Halloran was able to show the previously unknown role of zinc in hardening the tissue surrounding a fertilized egg cell.

Find out more

CryoSEM Worksop 2016

Around 60 attendees from various businesses and universities in the region gathered in Spring 2016 for the NUANCE Center’s CryoSEM workshop. Speakers included BioCryo facility manager and research assistant professor Reiner Bleher, associate professior Derk Joester, postdoctoral fellow Irene Chang, and Mager Scientific representative Mike Boyin.

EPIC: BioCryo

Cryo EM of cells on different days in culture demonstrated that the freshly purified Ter119 negative cells present intact nuclear envelope, and strikingly, mouse fetal liver erythroblast forms a gradually enlarged nuclear opening. Image by Baobing Zhao, Postdoctoral Fellow (NU Pathology Department, Peng group), taken with the Cryo SEM S-4800.

Find out more


The Zr-based Metal-Organic Framework NU-1000. Image taken by Zachary Meinhart, Graduate Student (Chemistry Department, Nguyen group) with the Hitachi SU8030.

Find out more

Electron Probe Instrumentation Center (EPIC)


EPIC houses instruments for scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) including scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), cryo electron microscopy (BioCryo), focused-ion beam (FIB) and specimen preparation facility (SPF). EPIC jointly collaborates with the Quantitative Bioelemental Imaging Center (QBIC) core facility as well.

EPIC receives support from the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS-1542205); the MRSEC program (NSF DMR-1121262) at the Materials Research Center; the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN); and the State of Illinois, through the IIN.  EPIC houses one of the most complete arsenals of routine and state-of-the-art electron microscopes in the world.



The primary objective of our mission is to enhance the education, collaboration, research and outreach related to all aspects of electron probe instrumentation, techniques and applications.  EPIC is a shared user facility that supports a broad range of nanoscale science and technology projects, specializing in nanoscale analysis and characterization.

EPIC is a multi-user, multi-departmental facility offering continually updated state-of-the-art equipment to qualified researchers from any field and institution.  EPIC has a strong tradition of facilitating interdisciplinary research, and regular training sessions and short courses are offered by accomplished microscopists who manage the EPIC facility, directed by Professor Vinayak P. Dravid.

Research and Societal Outreach

EPIC facility staff members routinely collaborate with Northwestern faculty and students on research that have been published in journals such as Science, Nature Materials and Nanotechnology.

EPIC maintains vibrant partnerships with academic and cultural institutions in the greater Chicago region, such as the Art Institute of Chicago. These efforts regularly culminate in the publication of research in prominent journals specific to the fields served by these institutions.

EPIC consistently works in concert with industrial partners such as British Petroleum, Nanosonics, Baxter, Hitachi, Cabot Microelectronics, Carpenter, Chugai, JEOL, Battelle, EBeam Devices, Avery Denison, Kraft Inc. as well as many others.

Local teachers, museums and members of the community are encouraged to join the NUANCE family through open house visits, demonstrations and presentations on how nanotechnology affects our daily lives. To schedule a tour for your group, please contact us.


The EPIC SEM, TEM, and SPF facility is located at 2220 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL in Cook Hall, Suite 1154.
The BioCryo facility is located at 2205 Campus Drive, O.T. Hogan Biological Sciences Building, Suite 5-150.

Further Questions

If you have further questions, specific to a particular EPIC instrument, please contact the following:

  • Reiner Bleher - BioCryo, Cryo/Conventional S/TEM and Microanalysis of Biological and Soft Matter Samples
  • Karl Hagglund - SEM and FIB
  • Jinsong Wu and Kai He- TEM and SPF, JEOL-2100F, Hitachi HD-2300 STEM, H-8100 TEM and HT-7700 S/TEM