The Group was formed as the Electron Microscopy Group in 1946, the title being changed to the present one in 1962.
This change of title reflects the broadening interests of the Group's members, as over the years the use of electron beams for microscopy, lithography, structural and chemical analysis has become an indispensable tool in physics, biology, chemistry, metallurgy, materials science, medicine, mineralogy and electronic engineering. This trend is continuing as the range of microscopies, including electron, ion, light and scanning probe microscopies, increase. As a result of its wide range the Group attracts membership not only from those in academic establishments but also from government research organizations and industry. The last named are both users of microscopes and manufacturers or developers of microscopes and ancillary equipment. Where possible all these interests are represented on the Group committee. For this reason the Group is well placed to stimulate the development of new techniques and encourage their use over the broad spectrum of applications.
The Group has members drawn from physics and from cognate disciplines including materials science, chemistry and engineering. While the Group's work is not primarily concerned with biology, the Group welcomes collaboration in these areas common to both physical and biological applications, particularly those concerned with instrumental or technique development.