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Remote Microscopy Program

Remote Microscopy

Central to the mission of CEMAS is to educate the next generation of electron microscopy users and experts. 

To achieve this, CEMAS strives to to make every instrument in the facility accessible through remote access. 

CEMAS Remote
Hendrik Colijn instructs students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio from his instrument in Columbus, Ohio. 

CEMAS is designed to provide the ideal environment for electron microscopy—designed by microscopists for microscopy. 

Learning advanced electron microscopy techniques has traditionally been a one-on-one activity for a student sitting in front of an instrument with an expert microscopist. However, remote microscopy at CEMAS provides a powerful platform for education and collaboration at geographically distant locations. 

CEMAS is designed to provide the ideal environment for electron microscopy – designed by microscopists for microscopists. The innovative building design and quality infrastructure ensure that every instrument in the facility meets or exceeds manufacturer performance specifications. An in-house team of technical staff further supports the physical infrastructure. 

Since opening in 2013, CEMAS has extended its use to potential users, both on campus and off. The goal is to make the advanced instrumentation and skilled technical support of CEMAS available to users in all disciplines at Ohio State and, equally important, to industrial, academic, and government entities across the nation. 

Having proven the value of functional remote microscopy, CEMAS continues to seek ways to expand its reach, allowing institutions, large and small, access to a world-class microscopy facility to advance their educational and research programs.

Are you interested in exploring our remote capabilities? Let's connect.

CEMAS operates remote microscopy stations at the following institutions:

Air Force Research Laboratory
University of Nevada, Reno
Case Western Reserve University

Points of Pride

North Carolina A&T
University of Dayton
Lehigh University

How It Works

The key to delivering the speed and reliability needed for remote microscopy is a high-quality connection, with low latency and minimal jitter and packet loss. If the latency is consistently low enough, then the user can sit in a remote site anywhere in the world and feel a suitable response to operator commands.

CEMAS's remote capabilities connect directly to the 100 Gb/s Ohio OARnet network, providing a unique opportunity for remote teaching and research to partners across the state of Ohio. 

CEMAS team members published an article in Microscopy Education titled "Remote Operation: The Future of Education and Research in Electron Microscopy."


First Remote Access Partners

Having identified an appropriate network solution, the next step in developing a remote microscopy capability was to prove the concept through a practical demonstration with a remote partner willing to work through the development process. The University of Dayton (about 90 miles from Columbus) and the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, agreed to participate.

Both remote-control stations are currently in use. Users send their specimens by courier to the microscopy facility in Columbus. When the sample is in the microscope, the user receives an indication on the network that the system is ready to go, and then they can use the microscope in the same manner as if they were sitting in front of it.


We have well over $40 million worth of tools at CEMAS. That is a capability that needs to be accessible way beyond Ohio State.
– David McComb, CEMAS Director

Ready to get started?

We're looking forward to learning more about your needs and exploring collaborative opportunities. To learn more, please email