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What level of knowledge and in what areas would be required to perform experimental work with an SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) and a TEM (Transmission Electron Microscope) respectively? E.g. would a strong background in quantum mechanics be necessary for EELS (Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy) using a TEM?

Assume that both the SEM and TEM machines are modern (made within the last 3 years).
Samples to be observed in the microscope would be metal alloys for materials science research.
Imaging methods of particular interest are EBSD and Surface Imaging for the SEM, and BSE, EELS, and Electron Diffraction for the TEM.

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No theoretical prerequisites to using a SEM or TEM, you'll need training to use the instrument. I've used three different SEMs and basically learned how to use each in an afternoon. TEM is more difficult, students may be required to take a training course.

Many times a researcher merely needs to image a specific sample, in which case you might be able to work with a technician. If you are interested in becoming a technician yourself then inquire about what's required.

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