History of Structure Probe, Inc. and SPI Supplies

Structure Probe, Inc. was founded in April, 1970 by Charles A. Garber, Ph. D., who was President and Chief Executive Officer of the firm until his death in September 2007. Mrs. Violet Garber is the current President and CEO.

From the starting point of one of the first scanning electron microscopes commercially imported into the USA and three employees, Dr. Garber directed the company's growth into a facility with 30+ employees and thousands of dollars worth of electron optical equipment. Over the years, our analytical equipment capabilities have been expanded to include other types of electron optical instrumentation such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis (EDS) instrumentation. With our in-house instrumentation we can provide images covering a wide range of materials, from life sciences to the materials sciences, and from relatively large samples and features down the very finest of nanostructures ever seen. We also have facilities for performing light microscopy, ultramicrotomy (room temperature and cryo), vacuum deposition, ion milling, and a variety of other techniques including osmium plasma coating of SEM samples for those requiring the very highest resolution. Few independent analytical and testing laboratories can offer such a powerful combined capability today. Although for many years we presented ourselves as Specialists in Materials Research, today we are equally comfortable and experienced with a wide range of life science samples as well as medical devices and biomaterials. Our failure analysis reports are used in legal cases internationally and a final report from the Structure Probe staff is respected and accepted globally.

The SPI Supplies Division of Structure Probe, Inc. was started in 1975 and is now known worldwide as a leading manufacturer and distributor of sample preparation equipment and consumable supply items for the routine operation of the typical SEM, TEM, LM, SPM and surface analysis laboratory. The SPI Supplies website has become the world's "reference resource" for information about microscopy sample preparation and equipment maintenance items. We are also known as the innovator in our corner of the microscopy and microanalysis market, being the first to bring to commercial realization now familiar products such as colloidal gold probes and silicon nitride membrane window grids. Perhaps most importantly, with our own in-house SEM and TEM capabilities, we can quality inspect our products before final packaging. We can duplicate customer problems and give them solutions. No other firm serving our end of the microscopy and microanalysis market can come close to providing such a high level service.

Structure Probe, Inc. is headquartered in West Chester, PA. In October 2013, we relocated to a new building which presently occupies 20,000 square feet of laboratory, packing, manufacturing and office space. From a corporate standpoint, we were the first in our industry to develop a commercial e-commerce website and were also the first to become 100% paperless and discontinue the publishing of a printed catalog. We have been recognized by our customers for our environmental consciousness and we deliver information about our products, to our customers, without the need to cut down a single tree.

In mid-2000, Structure Probe, Inc. and SPI Supplies played a leadership role in the development of the Microscopy Advantage™ CD, the first off-line resource for those working in microscopy and microanalysis, where convenient and/or inexpensive access to the internet was not possible. New editions are published annually and put into "attendee bags" of many of the major scientific meetings worldwide.

We are also a close neighbor of West Chester University, a leading university in our local area, and where we have numerous educational and scientific interactions. WCU has served as a source for future employees.

Dr. Garber was an active member of the small business community and testified several times before committees of the United States Congress on subjects involving small technology-based firms and, most recently, technical innovation in small firms. Dr. Garber served as an elected delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business (1980 and 1986) and as a Presidential Appointee Alternate and also delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business as part of the Pennsylvania delegation. Other employees of Structure Probe, Inc. are equally active, not only in scientific societies but also in our local community, such as serving on the volunteer fire department.

In today's competitive business environment, Structure Probe, Inc. and its main operating division, SPI Supplies, will continue its leading position in the industries it serves and will perpetuate a culture of excellence and innovation, which our customers and employees have come to know and expect.