Persons in charge: 
Frédéric VALES

The Microscopy Technical Platform centralizes the various microstructural observation aids as well as the sample preparation resources available to PIMM. The spatial scales covered extend from the millimeter to the nanometer, thus making it possible to carry out multi-scale microstructural analyses.

The great majority of PIMM research groups use the resources described below in order to:

- understand the microstructures of materials generated by the processes implemented in the laboratory,

- analyze the behavior of microstructures under stress (thermal-hydric-mechanical-chemical-temporal, etc.),

- gather data about the material in order to enhance models (input data, validation, etc.).

Optical microscopes

            - upright transmission and reflection microscopes: OLYMPUS BH2, LEICA LEITZ DMRM,

            - inverted microscope: OLYMPUS PMG3,

            - QUESTAR QM100 long distance microscope: this appliance makes it possible to carry out observations on test tubes, for example, when studying mechanical stress on macroscopic tensile machines.

The objective magnifications are: x5, x10, x20, x50 and x100. The microscopes feature cross analyzer-polarizers and image digitization systems.

Location: PIMM - Hall 4 - Level 0: Optical Microscopes room

Contact: F.Valès - PIMM - Hall 4 - Level 2

Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs)

Scanning Electron Microscopes at PIMM:

            - PHILIPS XL40: tungsten filament - 1995: secondary and backscattered electron imaging - Maximum enlargement of approximately x100 000 – large chamber - possibility of carrying out mechanical tests in situ (see DEBEN tensile tester).

            - HITACHI 4800 II: field emission gun - 2007: secondary and backscattered electron imaging (sensors in the chamber and lens), X-photon imaging (EDS: THERMO Scientific - Silicon Drift i.e. without liquid nitrogen), STEM (Scanning Transmitted Electron Microscopy) adevice and detector. This high-resolution SEM makes it possible to observe under low accelerating voltage (0.5kV), without prior metallization, which is essential for observation of polymer and composite materials.

The HITACHI 4800 SEM was bought thanks to the support of the Ile de France Region under the SESAME 2004 program sponsored by the Fédération Francilienne de Mécanique (F2M - http://www.f2m.cnrs-bellevue.fr/), and thanks to the support of Arts et Métiers ParisTech Paris and CNRS. The SESAME 2004 program entitled Plateforme technologique francilienne en micromécanique des matérieux hétérogènes entailed the purchase of three SEMs which use different and complementary technologies and which are located in three laboratories of the F2M.

Users must be authorized for autonomous use.  A MEB HITACHI 4800 SEM instruction manual is available.

Other accessories:

           - SEM in situ tensile stage (2010):

brand: DEBEN

capacity: 5,000N

displacement: 20mm

3 & 4 points bending clamps

tensile device under development

This module can be installed on the two SEMs as well as on other laboratory equipment (optical microscopes, diffraction benches) or outside the laboratory (tomograph, synchrotron such as the ESRF in Grenoble, etc.).

            - EBSD equipment: acquisition planned in first-quarter 2013..


Location: PIMM - Hall 4 - Level 0: SEM Microscopes rooms

Contact: F.Valès - PIMM - Hall 4 - Level 2

Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

brand & model:

VEECO MultiMode-Nanoscope V (2008)


The Contact and Tapping© imaging modes are available to observe surfaces whose maximum relief must be lower than 5µm. A thermal enclosure (- 35/+250°C) as well as a specific point for mechanical module measurements are available


Location: PIMM - Hall 4 - Level 0: Surface room

Contact : P.Peyre - PIMM - Laser Zone - Level 1

Préparation of samples for observation


- Cut off:

cut-off machine
 wheel diameter 250mm
 feed speed from 0.1 to 2.5mm/s
 (metallography room )

micro cut-off machine
PRESI MECATOME 180 with counter weights
wheel diameter 7.5 to 180mm (SEM room)

diamond wire saw





setting values from 0.5 to 100µm

- Coating:       - cold and hot (diameters 30 and 40 mm),



               - array of automatic mechanical polishing machines

               - electrolytic polishing

- Chemical and electrolytic etching

- Metallization: gold deposit for observation with the SEM under high voltage.

- JEOL Ion Slicer (2007) : a beam of argon ions makes it possible to slice samples (initial thickness of about 100µm) to thicknesses of several dozen nanometers in order to obtain images in transmission mode or STEM of the SEM. The parameters of the slicer are flux, accelerating voltage and the angle of the argon ions as well as the slicing duration; these parameters are determined depending on the nature of the material.

Location: PIMM - Hall 4 - Level 0: Metallography room, SEM room (Precision sectioning saw and Ion Slicer)  PIMM - Cour Manet Hall - Level 0: X-ray diffraction room (polishing and electrolytic etching)
Contact: F.Valès - PIMM - Hall 4 - Level 2 and W.Seiler - PIMM - Cour Manet - Level 0

Mecanical profilometer

mecanical profilometer

brand & model: VEECO Dektak 150 (2010)

mechanical stylet

Location: PIMM - Hall 4 - Level 0: Surface room
Contact : C.Gorny- PIMM – Laser Zone - Level 1

Microhardness testers

PIMM has one automated microhardness tester and two manual microhardness testers:

- automated microhardness tester:

brand & model: CLEMEX CMT.HD (2011)

Vickers indents

force: 5,10,25,50,100,200,300,500, 1000 gf

enlargement: x25, x100, x400

- manual microhardness tester: SHAMADZU HMV2000: Vickers diamond indent - 5 to 2000 gf

- manual microhardness tester: MATSUZAWA MXT30: Vickers indent

Location: PIMM - Hall 4 - Level 0: Surfaces room and Optical Microscopy room.
Contact: C.Dupuy - PIMM - Laser Zone - Level 1

Image processing software

- National Institute of Health : Image J

- Certain optical microscopy stations are equipped with image acquisition and processing software developed by the company Microvision Instruments:

- acquisition and filing: logiciel ARCHIMED TM,

- automatic measurement of forms: : logiciel ELLIX TM,

- digital video recorder: : logiciel REPLAY TM,

- manual morphometry of digital images: logiciel SAISAM TM,