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The Imaging Center

The University Imaging Center (UIC) of Texas Tech University located in the Experimental Sciences Building.
The facility is open to all faculty, graduate students and area businesses interested in enhancing their research using the techniques of transmission electron and scanning electron microscopy.  Trained users are given independent access to the instruments they require.

The primary function of the laboratory is to train students,  staff and faculty to become proficient in the techniques required for independent research.  In addition, the facility also offers service work by special arrangement.

Graduate students and staff who need training in TEM or SEM techniques are requested to take Biology 6408, Research Techniques in Electron Microscopy, which is offered each Spring semester. 

Reservations for use by trained users (see competency tier sytem for instrument usage below) should be made via the website available on the left side frame menu. Please DO NOT SCHEDULE TIME YOU DO NOT INTEND TO USE, do not use the Reservation Calendar to contact the Imaging Center staff. To request assistance for projects or to make appointments contact Dr Bo Zhao or Mary Hastert

If a mistake was made in scheduling, or to request a change in scheduling, contact Steven Platten or Dr Bo Zhao




AS OF  JUNE 1ST 2015:

Hitachi H8100:


Hitachi S-4300:


Hitachi S-5000:


Hitachi S-570 SEM:


Technical assistance


Consumables: Liquid Nitrogen: $5.00 per Liter.

Grids, Form bar coated: $5.00 ea

Grids, Copper: $1.00 ea  

Ancillary Equipment, tier one customer use

Ultra microtome:


Carbon coater:


Sputter coater:


Virtis Lyophilizer (Freeze dryer) :


Iridium Sputter coater:


Critical point dryer:      


Paraffin cutting:      


Light microscopes:


User Computer time:


Technician “drive”:


Corporate users1,2 

$75/h for scope time (1 hour minimum charge)

$50/h for sample prep  (1 hr. min charge)

$50/hr. technical assistance fee for corporate sample analysis. 

1May be used for a single experiment or be designated as a blanket permission covering a specific time period and amount. Project request forms can be downloaded from the Imaging Center website. Project request form details project, PI, user, account and instrument(s)

2Corporate users are required to submit a Purchase Order based onestimations for time and services to be performed before the work can be started.

Imaging Center Acknowledgment:

If work generated on any of the instruments in the TexasTech University Imaging Facility (e.g. photos, analytical data, etc.) is to be used in a paper, thesis, dissertation, poster or some other form of presentation, the EOX Imaging Facility (IF) should be properly acknowledged. If most of the work was done by independently, without a great deal of input from the IF staff (i.e. after the class is finished), the laboratory itself need only be acknowledged. If the IF staff assisted in the acquisition of data or contributed significantly to your research in some other manner, personal attribution should be given to that staff member, as well as to the IF. These acknowledgments are important and could be useful in the future for the acquisition of new instrumentation and funding. A copy of the acknowledgment would also be greatly appreciated.

If the Hitachi S-4300SE/N was used, please include the NSF grant number: 
NSF MRI 04-511 The Texas Tech University A&S EOX Imaging Facility, Texas Tech University 


Because of the complexity, cost, use, maintenance, and potential downtime issues associated with the imaging instrumentation in the Texas Tech University Imaging Center, a tier system based on an individual’s competency for each major piece of equipment has been developed. This system has been implemented for two reasons: 1) to provide necessary oversight for the use of the instruments and to insure users are trained, both in theory and application, in the operation of the equipment. This will protect both the user and the instrument, and; 2) to generate an incentive for serious students to use the instruments on a regular basis, so their skills, abilities, and understanding of the equipment can incrementally improve until they become totally independent researchers (Tier I). 

The IC staff will determine the levels, skills, and abilities of users. Researchers can incrementally move up in the tiers as their competency increases on a particular piece of equipment.

Tier I

TOTALLY INDEPENDENT USERS: Tier I users can have 24 hour access to the instrument(s) they are qualified to use without oversight from IC staff. Tier I users can also provide oversight for the lower tier researchers during and outside of normal business hours.

Tier II

RESTRICTED INDEPENDENT USERS: Tier II users are allowed independent access to the instrument(s) they are qualified to use during normal business hours* when qualified staff are present. IC staff will have priority use of instruments during these normal hours. Tier II users can use instruments in off-hours, if they are accompanied by a Tier I user.


NON-INDEPENDENT USERS: Tier III users are allowed to operate the instrument independently only after it has been set-up and aligned by a higher tier operator. Instrument operation by Tier III users is predicated on the fact that there will be close but not total supervision. Changes to instrument set-up (e.g. current, voltage changes) or alignment, as well as sample exchanges, will be performed by the higher tier user. Because of these limitations Tier III users must use the instrument during normal business hours*, or in off hours if accompanied by a Tier I user.


ASSISTED USERS: Tier IV users are not allowed to use the instrument without a trained researcher from a higher tier actually operating the instrument (i.e. sitting with them at all times). These are often outside users who have no training and will require constant oversight. Any higher Tier user can assist these researchers, but they are constrained by the rules of the Competency Tier to which they are assigned.

*Normal hours of operation: Weekdays, 8:00 – 5:30, excluding holidays

The facility is open to all faculty, graduate students and area businesses interested in enhancing their research using the techniques of transmission electron, scanning electron, atomic force, laser confocal or epifluorescence microscopy. Trained users are given independent access to the instruments they require.