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NETHERLANDS ELECTRON MICROSCOPY INFRASTRUCTURE (NEMI)

NEMI is the central point for EM infrastructure, innovation and access in The Netherlands.

Electron Microscopy (EM) looks into the smallest details to get to the big picture. By EM we visualize molecules and matter at the highest resolution, which is essential to address important and urgent issues in the Life and Materials sciences. 

EM is dedicated to understand the molecular basis of life and diseases as cancer and dementia, and develop nanomaterials to address social challenges as climate change, biomaterials and biodiversity. NEMI is a national infrastructure which brings together Dutch EM developers, scientists and students from both Life and Material Sciences. 

The NEMI infrastructure consists of a distributed network of local EM Nodes and a number of unique Flagship Nodes, which offer highly advanced EM technologies requiring specific expertise and often very costly instrumentation. Together, these technologies enable imaging across different length, resolution and time scales and allow integration with light microscopy and proteomics. 

Apart from instrumentation, NEMI provides training, support in experiment design and data acquisition, and has a special IT group to generate novel tools and solutions for data analysis and storage. Last but not least, NEMI has brought together the Dutch EM field and greatly enhanced interactions, collaborations and exchange of best practices. Also for the future, the aim of NEMI is to supply The Netherlands with the latest EM technologies, made available to a broad group of users. 

NEMI develops FASTER microscopes that can handle LARGER volumes, and multi-modal microscopes to combined EM with other important information (omics, fluorescence; X-rays). Specific social challenges that will strongly depend on high-end EM infrastructure are development of smart drugs and materials, which can only be designed through knowledge of their nanostructure.

Life Sciences EM. Left and middle panel: Artist impressions highlighting that EM has led to understanding the basic concept of life by revealing processes at the cellular (left) and molecular (centre) level. Individual proteins within the native environment of the cell can be imaged by EM. Right panel: EM image color coding distinct compartments in the cell.

EM for materials science. Nanomaterials are nowadays abundantly used in displays, batteries, and solar cells, and as catalysts for efficient conversion of energy resources. Characterization and development of these nanostructured materials requires imaging at the level of individual atoms, which can be achieved with the newest generation of aberration-corrected electron microscopes.

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