Technological milestones: electron microscopy

How it all began

TEM development
ZEISS Archives

Following the collaboration with AEG in the early 1940s, Carl Zeiss increasingly helped further develop the EM series: In 1949, Carl Zeiss took the EM 8 to market – it was able to compensate better for optical disturbances, thereby offering excellent imaging performance. The successor model in 1956, the EM 9, marked a new phase in electron microscope production – it was the world’s first electromagnetic transmission electron microscope with automatic exposure control. With the launch of the EM 902 in 1984, Carl Zeiss also unveiled the Castaing-Henry filter for commercial electron microscopes. This innovation now makes it possible for users to produce high-resolution element mapping images. The GEMINI technology, which was integrated into the DSM 982 GEMINI for the first time, is renowned for its combined electrostatic-magnetic objective lenses.

In 2007, Carl Zeiss placed two groundbreaking innovations on the market: the ORION microscope, which generates images by scanning the sample with helium ions instead of electrons, thereby providing much higher resolution and contrast, and CRISP, the only TEM in the world with the ability to image at the atomic level. In 2010, Carl Zeiss demonstrated its expertise in the field of electron microscopes once again with the Shuttle & Find system for correlative microscopy. In 2011, the Electron Microscopy division was integrated into Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH along with the production sites in Oberkochen, Peabody and Cambridge. The company was renamed Carl Zeiss Microscopy and is headquartered in Jena, where it all began.


  • TEM development


    Beginning of TEM development at AEG
    Photo: © ZEISS Archives

  • AEG-ZEISS transmission electron microscope EM 8


    Electrostatic AEG-ZEISS transmission electron microscope EM 8
    Photo: © ZEISS Archives

  • Automatic electronic exposure: EM 9


    The first electron microscope with automatic electronic exposure: EM 9
    Photo: © ZEISS Archives

  • EM 109 electron microscope


    EM 109 electron microscope with a TFP (trans-fiber photography) system.
    Photo: © ZEISS Archives

  • EM 902 with imaging electron energy filter


    EM 902 with imaging electron energy filter becomes first system on the market to generate high-resolution element mapping images.
    Photo: © ZEISS Archives

  • DSM 982 GEMINI field emission scanning electron microscope


    Market launch of DSM 982 GEMINI field emission scanning electron microscope featuring combined electrostatic-magnetic lens (GEMINI technology).
    Photo: © ZEISS Archives

  • ORION helium-ion microscope.


    Carl Zeiss introduces the ORION helium-ion microscope. Samples are scanned with helium ions instead of electrons. This provides markedly better resolution and improved material contrast.
    Photo: © ZEISS Archives



    CRISP – the only electron microscope in the world that allows imaging at the atomic level.
    Photo: © ZEISS Archives

  • "Shuttle & Find" for correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM):


    "Shuttle & Find" for correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM): the only hardware and software interface for linking light microscopes and electron microscopes makes it possible to find positions of fixed samples marked in one system to be found in another system within seconds.
    Photo: © ZEISS Archives