Picture of Hans Boersch – with kind permission: Technical University of Berlin

Technological Milestones of Electron Microscopy

  • How it all started

    How it all started

    After working together with AEG in the early 1940s, Carl Zeiss devoted more and more efforts towards refining the EM series: In 1949, Carl Zeiss placed the EM 8 on the 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 introduced the Castaing-Henry filter for commercial electron microscopes. This technique enables users to obtain high-resolution element mapping images.

    GEMINI technology, which was first incorporated in the DSM 982 GEMINI, is known 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 once more demonstrated its expertise in the field of electron microscopes with its 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 has its headquarters in Jena where it all started.

  • Innovations


    Beginning of TEM development at AEG


    Electrostatic AEG-ZEISS EM 8 transmission electron microscope.


    The first electron microscope with automatic electronic exposure: EM 9.


    EM 109 electron microscope with a TFP (trans-fiber photography) system.


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


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


    Carl Zeiss introduces the ORION helium-ion microscope. Samples are scanned with helium ions instead of electrons which offers markedly better resolution and improved material contrast.


    CRISP – the only electron microscope in the world that allows imaging at the atomic level.



    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.