FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

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Please find below answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding our microscopy service:

Open positions and internships

are not offered at this time.

Micronaut images are handled rights managed – what does this mean?

Any usage of ‘rights managed’ images is defined and settled by a license agreement.

Which rights can I buy?

The decision is up to you: we have licenses that allow single- or multiple usage, exclusively or non-exclusively.

What about the pricing?

Our prices are guided by the official recommendations of the ‘Swiss Association of Photographers and –Agencies (SAB)’, and they are regularly adapted to the current market price.

Micronaut Fine Art Editions

We do our best to display the colours of our images as accurately as possible on the website. The actual colours you see will depend on your screen so we can’t guarantee that your screen will accurately reflect the colour of the product on delivery. However, our premium fine prints are individually adjusted prior to the printing and manually produced with hand selected materials – the best of the best.


Stock image files can be downloaded directly from the Micronaut Client Area, or sent on CD/DVD, once you have completed, signed and returned a copy of your license agreement. License agreements are available upon request. Please fill out the request form for the image you want to order and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Micronaut Fine Art products are produced manually upon request. Please allow app. 3 weeks for the production and shipping. If your order needs express delivery, please note that it has to be charged extra. Please contact us to determine available dates.

I have just placed my order, what happens next?

We will start processing your order immediately. As long as the product is in stock, it will be packed up carefully within five working days and sent off. Once we have received your order it’s not possible to change or cancel it. If you have made a mistake with your shipping address it’s not always possible to change it in time but please contact us  immediately to see what we can do.

How are Micronaut images produced?

Micronaut’s images are based on Scanning-Electron-Microscopy (SEM). The production steps include: (1) tissue specific preparation, including dehydration, critical-point-drying, and gold-sputtering, (2) SEM and several (3) post-processing (coloration) steps.

Why is the preparation necessary and for what does it stand for?

To make a long story short, SEM technology requires careful preparation of each sample, including appropriate fixation, critical-point-drying (CPD), and gold-sputtering. Only the manual implementation of carefully optimized procedures allow state-of-the-art image quality.

Are there any samples which cannot be prepared?

We do have a lot of experience and a wide range of protocols for different samples, thus you can basically come up with everything you want – except reagents (fluid state).

What is critical-point-drying (CPD)?

The CPD process allows to remove liquid under controlled circumstances. This avoids artifacts of the surface that otherwise arise (uncontrolled desiccation; e.g. air drying).

How does SEM technology work?

The Scanning-Electron-Microscope (SEM) works similar to the machine we use to copy keys, tracing objects’ surfaces with a high-energy beam of electrons. Based on the amount of emitted secondary electrons, the machine is able to deliver highly magnified and cristal-clear black-and-white images that reveal detail below 1 to 5 nm in size, under ideal circumstances.

How are the scans equipped with color?

SEM-scans are often colorized for attractiveness and clarity. Depending on the image size and degree of visible detail, the manual process lasts several hours or up to one week (or even more). Continue reading about the SEM coloration.

Ordering custom-made Micronaut SEM images

Our service is available upon request and there is usually a waiting list for custom-made exclusive images. Please feel free to contact us if you need a quote or information about available dates.

How long does it take to produce custom-made images?

Usually, the manual production of a custom-made color SEM image varies between 2-4 weeks. If more samples are processed simultaneously the average time per picture may be different.