Labs at Location - Natural and Medical Sciences Institute
labs@location Partner
Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI)

Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI)

University of Tübingen

The Natural and Medical Sciences Institute
University of Tübingen
Markwiesenstraße 55
72770 Reutlingen
  • Microstructure and Nanoparticle Analysis
  • Analysis of hydrous samples
  • 3D reconstruction
  • Tumor research

Decide on your ideal ZEISS microscope in the facilities of our labs@location partner, the Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen.

The NMI undertakes application-oriented research at the interface of life sciences and materials science. It is particularly committed to translate findings from basic research into industrial application in the business areas Pharma & Biotechnology, Biomedical technology and Surface & Interface technology.

  • Electron microscopy

    Interface, Microstructure and Nanoparticle Analysis

    Materials interact through their surfaces with the environment. A unique variety of analytical tools helps us to probe sample properties with respect to corrosion, tribology, biocompatibility and others. 

    Topic areas in the fields of Engineering , Microelectronics , Medical Device Technology , Automotive and Environmental Science

    Micro cross section of contamination on implant surface

    Contamination on implant surface

    • Failure analysis
    • Surface/interface analysis and characterization (morphology, phase and chemical composition)
    • Quality control
    • Dimensional analysis
    • Process characterization
    • Reverse engineering
    • Contamination and particle identification
    • Sample preparation for SEM /FIB and TEM samples

    Know how/expertise

    • Electron- and ion microscopy
    • Scanning Electron-Microscopes (SEM), Scanning Focused Ion microscopes (FIB) and Transmission Electron microscope (TEM)
    • Large variety of sample preparation equipment (examples: mechanical preparation, ultra-microtome, Ion-polishing equipment)
    • Spectroscopy (HR XPS, SIMS, SNMS, EDX, Raman)


    High resolution EDX-Mapping of element distribution in steal-sample (Cr, Nb, Fe)

    EDX-Mapping in steal sample - Cr


    EDX-Mapping in steal-sample - Nb


    EDX-Mapping in steal sample - Fe


  • Cryo-FIB/SEM microscopy

    Applications to Hydrous Samples

    Hydrous materials are not applicable to conventional electron microscopy. Cryo-FIB/SEM microscopy helps us to study the morphology of these samples without preparation induced artefacts. The Crossbeam system is available to work on this topic.

    Topic areas

    • Morphology and analysis of hydreous, non biological samples with solid-fluid interfaces
    • Morphology and analysis of biological samples to minimize preparation induced artefacts
    • Morphology and analysis of biomaterials, polymers and polymeric layer systems which are sensitive to the electron or ion beam

    Know how/expertise

    • Equipment for cryo preparation, cryo transfer of frozen samples and cryo-FIB/SEM microscopy at temperatures of -140°C (cooling with liquid nitrogen)
    • Cryo FIB cross section preparation perpendicular to the sample surface to study the morphology inside the sample
    • Cryo SEM microscopy of surfaces and cross sections on frozen hydrous samples

    Cryo-FIB/SEM image of an hydrogel after sublimation at -60°C

    Hydrogel after sublimation

  • FIB/SEM tomography

    Imaging of the Interface of Biological Samples and Technical Surfaces

    The function of implants relies on its intimate contact to the biological environment. Combining FIB/SEM microscopy with classical preparation methods allow the reconstruction of the biological-technical interface. The Crossbeam system is available to work on this topic.

    Topic areas

    • 3D reconstruction and analysis of material science or biological samples
    • 3D morphological study of biological-technical interfaces common in biomedical applications

    Know how/expertise

    • Equipment for sample preparation to get access to biological-technical interfaces for analysis
    • 3D FIB/SEM slice and view (Crossbeam® system)
    • 3D reconstruction and analysis of image stacks acquired with slice and view

    Transwell cell culture with epithel - FIB/SEM tomography

    Transwell cell culture with epithel

    Transwell cell culture with epithel - FIB/SEM tomography

    Transwell cell culture with epithel

  • Light microscopy

    Applications to Neurobiology and Tumor Research

    Neurodegenerative and tumor diseases are associated with modified subcellular signaling pathways. Light microscopy helps us to identify and further characterize involved proteins. The following ZEISS products are available for on-site demonstrations: CLSM LSM 510, Cell Observer SD, AxioImager.Z1/Apotome and Axiovert 200.

    image of rat hippocampus after z-stack recording

    Segment of Rat Hippocampus

    Topic areas

    • Morphometry of neuronal networks
    • Immunohistochemical characterisation of (brain-) tissue
    • Analysis of synaptic connectivity and its alterations in pathological states
    • Immunocytochemistry for subcellular localisation studies

    Know how/expertise

    • Confocal and epifluorescence microscopy
    • Equipment for Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM, LSM510 Meta), Widefield Fluorescence Microscopy
    • 3D reconstruction and quantitative analysis of cells and tissues after acquisition of optical sections (confocal microscopy)
    • Time resolved analysis of subcellular localisation (immunocytochemically labeled antigens, fluorescent markerproteins)

    Subcellular localisation of a fluorescent protein inside a tumor cell

    Fluorescent protein in a tumor cell