The photolab has known a major revolution in recent years. Always right on the technology frontier, EMAT made the switch from analogue to digital image capturing techniques early 1990, resulting in a drastic shift and redefinition of the photolab’s functionalities.
In its former years its tasks consisted of developing and archiving all negative plates from the microscopes. Some of the earliest negatives were still on thin sheets of glass, later this became a plastic carrier and positive prints were made with a photographic enlarger or through contact print.

The photolab was the hub of EMAT: every picture taken on any microscope passed through the photolab and was redistributed to the researchers after processing. EMAT’s archive spans four decades and contains over 500.000 scientific images.

End 1980s, begin 1990s, the photolab abandoned analogous post processing of the negatives heavily relying on the Macintosh Classic computers. The first electron microscope with digital image capturing came around 2002 with the CM30. 
Nowadays, all electron microscopes are equipped with a digital camera. This technology shift has encouraged the people of the photolab to expand their horizon and today their core activities can be summarized as follows:

  • High-end image processing
  • Scientific illustration
  • 3D construction and printing
  • Motion graphics
  • Large format (poster) printing
  • Digital Image Archiving
  • Micro/macro photography
  • Graphic design

Both professional designer software such as the Adobe Creative Suite collection as well as scientific software such as Avizo and Amira are intensively used. The large format printer can make A0 sized posters on photo quality paper. These posters can be laminated and mounted, depending on the client’s wishes. Scientific illustrations have made the covers of various peer reviewed Journals.

Other tasks include photography, video conversions, animations, graphic design and vectorization of raster images.
The members of the photolab continue to tailor their skills according to EMAT’s needs.