Blog

How does blood research benefit from scanning electron microscopy?

By Dr. Jasmin Zahn - Nov 15, 2017

Blood is a vital element of the body. It is essential to all organs and tissues as it provides the oxygen that is required and removes unwanted metabolites from cells. But blood isn’t just involved in oxygen transportation; it also contains immune cells and platelets that help defend the body from various diseases and are involved in bleeding disorders. This blog will give you more insights into how scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) can become an important tool for laboratories that focus on blood research and related fields.

Blood is a vital element of the body. It is essential to all organs and tissues as it provides the oxygen that is required and removes unwanted metabolites from cells. But blood isn’t just involved in oxygen transportation; it also contains immune cells and platelets that help defend the body from various diseases and are involved in bleeding disorders. This blog will give you more insights into how scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) can become an important tool for laboratories that focus on blood research and related fields.

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Topics: blood research

Spot size in scanning electron microscopy (SEM): why it matters!

By Antonis Nanakoudis - Nov 9, 2017

Scanning electron microscopes have emerged as a very valuable characterization method in recent years, following the major technological developments and the continuous shrinking of material dimensions. SEMs are versatile tools that allow users to perform many different types of analyses on a wide range of materials and to achieve the best results, users should carefully select the main microscope settings. One of those settings is the spot size, i.e. the diameter of the probe at the sample. In this blog, I explain how to adjust the spot size in a SEM — and how to achieve the right balance between high-resolution imaging and a high beam current to get the results you’re looking for.

Scanning electron microscopes have emerged as a very valuable characterization method in recent years, following the major technological developments and the continuous shrinking of material dimensions. SEMs are versatile tools that allow users to perform many different types of analyses on a wide range of materials and to achieve the best results, users should carefully select the main microscope settings. One of those settings is the spot size, i.e. the diameter of the probe at the sample. In this blog, I explain how to adjust the spot size in a SEM — and how to achieve the right balance between high-resolution imaging and a high beam current to get the results you’re looking for.

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Topics: spot size

How are plant sciences and electron microscopy linked?

By Dr. Jasmin Zahn - Nov 3, 2017

In plant sciences, researchers face many different and challenging microscopy tasks: from morphological analysis to functional approaches, from taxonomy and ethology to physiology studies. All kinds of different microscopy techniques are used inside plant science. This blog offers you insights in how scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) are used and what benefits and challenges come with their use in anatomical studies and physiology, as well as in regard to plants components such as fibers.

In plant sciences, researchers face many different and challenging microscopy tasks: from morphological analysis to functional approaches, from taxonomy and ethology to physiology studies. All kinds of different microscopy techniques are used inside plant science. This blog offers you insights in how scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) are used and what benefits and challenges come with their use in anatomical studies and physiology, as well as in regard to plants components such as fibers.

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Topics: plant sciences

How SEM analysis helps understanding new nanofiber applications

By Dr. Jasmin Zahn - Oct 26, 2017

How to transfer drugs into human bodies efficient and while doing that minimizing side effects, has been studied intensively, and many different techniques have been developed over the past few years. Electrospun nanofibers are one of such new systems that have attracted a lot of attention recently. This is thanks to the exceptional properties of these fibers: they have highly porous three-dimensional surfaces, a high surface-to-volume ratio, and interconnected porosity with tunable pore dimensions. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) proved to be helpful as an analytical tool to understand how fiber properties can be altered and enhanced.

 

How to transfer drugs into human bodies efficient and while doing that minimizing side effects, has been studied intensively, and many different techniques have been developed over the past few years. Electrospun nanofibers are one of such new systems that have attracted a lot of attention recently. This is thanks to the exceptional properties of these fibers: they have highly porous three-dimensional surfaces, a high surface-to-volume ratio, and interconnected porosity with tunable pore dimensions. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) proved to be helpful as an analytical tool to understand how fiber properties can be altered and enhanced.

 

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Topics: nanofibers

Fabrication of photonic devices through direct laser writing: how SEM contributes

By Marijke Scotuzzi - Oct 19, 2017

Photonic devices are widely used in the physical sciences for creating, manipulating and detecting light. In the future, the challenge will be to fabricate advanced photonic devices, which will require flexibility and tunability. Fabricating these devices is not easy, as they require an advanced three-dimensional lithographic technique. Direct laser writing (DLW) is an interesting approach that aims to achieve this using a liquid crystalline photoresist as light-sensitive material.

In this blog, we will describe how photoresists are specifically designed and tested for the fabrication of elastomeric light tunable photonic devices — and how imaging with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) helped in the design improvement process.

Photonic devices are widely used in the physical sciences for creating, manipulating and detecting light. In the future, the challenge will be to fabricate advanced photonic devices, which will require flexibility and tunability. Fabricating these devices is not easy, as they require an advanced three-dimensional lithographic technique. Direct laser writing (DLW) is an interesting approach that aims to achieve this using a liquid crystalline photoresist as light-sensitive material.

In this blog, we will describe how photoresists are specifically designed and tested for the fabrication of elastomeric light tunable photonic devices — and how imaging with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) helped in the design improvement process.

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Topics: photonics

How electron microscopy fuels the development of eco-friendly polymers

By Luigi Raspolini - Oct 12, 2017

Thermosetting polymers are widely used in modern industry due to their specific chemical and physical properties. With a wide range of applications, from components of huge aircraft to small electronics, epoxies are one of the main products of the polymers industry. This blog will focus on how these materials are improved and made eco-friendly, by making use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

Thermosetting polymers are widely used in modern industry due to their specific chemical and physical properties. With a wide range of applications, from components of huge aircraft to small electronics, epoxies are one of the main products of the polymers industry. This blog will focus on how these materials are improved and made eco-friendly, by making use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

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Topics: polymers

Scanning electron microscopy analysis of polymer coatings of stents

By Dr. Jasmin Zahn - Oct 5, 2017

The development of polymers and their diverse range of applications is a wide research field. Polymer materials became prevalent in implantable medical devices through processing capabilities in a wide variety of physical and chemical properties, as well as biocompatibility. This article describes how polymer coatings are used in the fabrication of drug-eluting coronary stents and how scanning electron microscopy (SEM) helps analyze the performance of these coatings in great detail. 

The development of polymers and their diverse range of applications is a wide research field. Polymer materials became prevalent in implantable medical devices through processing capabilities in a wide variety of physical and chemical properties, as well as biocompatibility. This article describes how polymer coatings are used in the fabrication of drug-eluting coronary stents and how scanning electron microscopy (SEM) helps analyze the performance of these coatings in great detail. 

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Topics: polymers

Why hi-tech textile engineering requires SEM analysis

By Luigi Raspolini - Sep 28, 2017

It’s been a long time since the textile industry relied exclusively on natural fibers. Over the decades, synthetic fibers have proven to be cheaper, easier to produce and often perform better. At the same time, chemical treatments have been developed that improve the smoothness and the resistance of both natural and synthetic fibers, which has resulted in higher quality products. Read this blog for more information on how electron microscopy can play a fundamental role in this development process.

It’s been a long time since the textile industry relied exclusively on natural fibers. Over the decades, synthetic fibers have proven to be cheaper, easier to produce and often perform better. At the same time, chemical treatments have been developed that improve the smoothness and the resistance of both natural and synthetic fibers, which has resulted in higher quality products. Read this blog for more information on how electron microscopy can play a fundamental role in this development process.

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Topics: SEM, fibers, textile

Sample preparation: how sputter coating assists your SEM imaging

By Antonis Nanakoudis - Sep 21, 2017

Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) are very versatile tools that can provide information at the nanoscale of many different samples - with little or no sample preparation. In some cases though, combining SEMs with sputter coating is recommended, or even necessary, in order to get a good SEM image. In this blog, we will explain how sputter coating works, and to which type of samples it should be applied.

Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) are very versatile tools that can provide information at the nanoscale of many different samples - with little or no sample preparation. In some cases though, combining SEMs with sputter coating is recommended, or even necessary, in order to get a good SEM image. In this blog, we will explain how sputter coating works, and to which type of samples it should be applied.

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Fabrication of silicon microstructures with KOH etching — imaged through SEM

By Marijke Scotuzzi - Sep 14, 2017

Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) etching is an important process in the fabrication of microdevices, and is used to remove material from a silicon wafer. It is possible to selectively etch only certain parts of the wafer, by protecting the rest with a layer of silicon dioxide, or mask. However, the presence of residues gives this technique a critical disadvantage, as it can negatively influence the fabrication process of the device. In this blog, we present a way of taking advantage of the etching residue, using it as a mask for a subsequent etching, in order to fabricate two-layer microstructures. We also provide examples of how these microstructures can be effectively imaged with SEM.

Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) etching is an important process in the fabrication of microdevices, and is used to remove material from a silicon wafer. It is possible to selectively etch only certain parts of the wafer, by protecting the rest with a layer of silicon dioxide, or mask. However, the presence of residues gives this technique a critical disadvantage, as it can negatively influence the fabrication process of the device. In this blog, we present a way of taking advantage of the etching residue, using it as a mask for a subsequent etching, in order to fabricate two-layer microstructures. We also provide examples of how these microstructures can be effectively imaged with SEM.

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Topics: SEM, SEM images

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