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Scanning Electron Microscopy image of insect antenna. Imaged and colorized by Eric Miller.

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Bright-field STEM of HT29 vs CSK cell section, provides an alternative measure of nuclear disorder. Images from Dravid and Backman labs

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Self-assembled “hairy” biopolymer microcapsules. Scanning Electron Microscope image on LEO 1525

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Silver film over glass nanospheres. Image on Leo 1525 by the Van Dyne group

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EPIC: BioCryo

Z-contrast image of a resin-embedded mouse egg section. Zona Pellucida (ZP) and peripheral ooplasm with numerous vesicles (V), granules (G), mitochondria (Mt), and ER-cisternae (ER) are visible. Imaged with a Hitachi HD2300A STEM by Reiner Bleher.

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Electron Probe Instrumentation Center (EPIC)


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

EPIC is part of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at Northwestern University, housing one of the most complete arsenals of routine and state-of-the-art electron microscopes in the world. EPIC also receives some support from the International Institute for Nanotechnology's (IIN) NSF-sponsored Nanoscale Science & Engineering Center (NSEC) at Northwestern University, as well as from the State of Illinois and Northwestern.

Click to download the EPIC brochure.


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, Monsanto, 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 EPIC Bio-Cryo facility is located at 2170 Campus Drive, Silverman Hall, B540.

Further Questions

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