This year’s CDT ACM cohort of students from Imperial, UCL and TCD recently gathered in Dublin for two weeks, to take part in an intensive microscopy training programme at the Advanced Microscopy Laboratory (AML) at Trinity College Dublin. Through instrument training, and a series of lectures from top class researchers, a broad range of microscopy techniques were covered, including SEM, HIM, TEM and STEM. Students received hands on training in scanning electron microscopy (SEM), learning how to prepare and load samples, and the basics of operating the machine to obtain high quality images. Helium ion microscopy (HIM) was also introduced to the students, a first encounter for many. Machine layout and theory was covered to start, with experience then being provided in the operation of the instrument. Their use of HIM resulted in some fantastic images for first time users; some of which have since been recognised as the AML’s Images of the Month!
Finally, a basic introduction was provided in transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the use of scanning TEM (STEM). Students learnt about instrument operation and imaging for different sample types from experienced instructors using the JEOL and TITAN microscopes. Outside of microscope training, the students attended lectures and talks each evening, provided by researchers in academia and industry, detailing how they avail of different microscopy techniques in their various research fields. The students heard about both familiar and new techniques and methods, from focused ion beam lithography, to scanning electrochemical cell microscopy from the perspective of chemists, physicists, biomaterials engineers and more. The cram-packed two weeks finally concluded with a social evening in Trinity’s Pavilion bar, with pizzas and a quick-fire quiz, testing the cohort on what they had learnt during their time in Dublin!