Blog

How SEM helps to detect additive manufacturing defects in a 3D-printed object

By Karl Kersten - Oct 11, 2018

3D printing, or additive manufacturing (AM), refers to processes that are used to make 3D printed objects. In order to achieve this, successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. The objects can have almost any shape or geometry and are produced using digital data from a 3D model or other electronic data source.

But successive layers formed under computer control can result in structural interruptions or defects that negatively affect the reliability of an 3D printed object. And these undesirable defects  should not go undetected; something we discuss in this blog later on. But first, more about 3D printing.

3D printing, or additive manufacturing (AM), refers to processes that are used to make 3D printed objects. In order to achieve this, successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. The objects can have almost any shape or geometry and are produced using digital data from a 3D model or other electronic data source.

But successive layers formed under computer control can result in structural interruptions or defects that negatively affect the reliability of an 3D printed object. And these undesirable defects  should not go undetected; something we discuss in this blog later on. But first, more about 3D printing.

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Backscattered electron imaging explained

By Karl Kersten - Oct 4, 2018

 Backscattered electrons (BSEs) are generated by elastic scattering events. When the electrons in the primary beam travel close to the atom’s nuclei in the specimen, their trajectory is deviated due to the force they feel with the positive charges in the nuclei. Depending on the size of the atom nuclei, the number of backscattered electrons differs. This is the basic principle of BSE image contrast. In this blog we introduce the backscattering coefficient and explain how it is influenced by the inclination of the sample and the primary beam energy.

 Backscattered electrons (BSEs) are generated by elastic scattering events. When the electrons in the primary beam travel close to the atom’s nuclei in the specimen, their trajectory is deviated due to the force they feel with the positive charges in the nuclei. Depending on the size of the atom nuclei, the number of backscattered electrons differs. This is the basic principle of BSE image contrast. In this blog we introduce the backscattering coefficient and explain how it is influenced by the inclination of the sample and the primary beam energy.

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Why do your materials break? Tensile testing: inspecting the breaking mechanisms of materials with SEM

By Luigi Raspolini - Sep 27, 2018

Tensile testing is a commonly-used analysis that provides information on the resilience of an object and how much resistance it can offer to traction or compression. Such tests can be performed on a large variety of materials and provide useful information to speculate on the behavior of a material when it undergoes a stress. The main purpose of the tensile test is to evaluate relevant parameters (like the Young's modulus, for example) or to study the how shear stress affects the material. This allows researchers to create models and design better materials. But how can you see what is happening? A scanning electron microscope (SEM) with tensile testing capabilities can provide you with that information.

Tensile testing is a commonly-used analysis that provides information on the resilience of an object and how much resistance it can offer to traction or compression. Such tests can be performed on a large variety of materials and provide useful information to speculate on the behavior of a material when it undergoes a stress. The main purpose of the tensile test is to evaluate relevant parameters (like the Young's modulus, for example) or to study the how shear stress affects the material. This allows researchers to create models and design better materials. But how can you see what is happening? A scanning electron microscope (SEM) with tensile testing capabilities can provide you with that information.

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Backscattered electron images: how to improve their quality

By Karl Kersten - Sep 21, 2018

Backscatter electrons (BSEs) carry information on the material of the sample. Obtaining high-quality images with a backscattered electron detector depends on many factors, such as the conductivity of the sample, its morphology and composition, the type of BSE detector and the electronics. Given a fixed system with the same detector and electronics— and the same sample, we analyzed the factors that play a role in the quality of a BSE image. Beginning with the number of integrating frames and beam intensity, in this blog we will also discuss the roles of the working distance and the chamber pressure.

Backscatter electrons (BSEs) carry information on the material of the sample. Obtaining high-quality images with a backscattered electron detector depends on many factors, such as the conductivity of the sample, its morphology and composition, the type of BSE detector and the electronics. Given a fixed system with the same detector and electronics— and the same sample, we analyzed the factors that play a role in the quality of a BSE image. Beginning with the number of integrating frames and beam intensity, in this blog we will also discuss the roles of the working distance and the chamber pressure.

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Tungsten vs. CeB6 electron source: Choosing the right desktop SEM

By Wouter - Sep 13, 2018

Considering a desktop scanning electron microscope (SEM)? If so, then it is important to determine what type of electron source fits your needs, since it has a direct effect on the quality of your output. In this blog, we'll therefore describe compare a Tungsten electron source with a CeB6 electron source. Read on to learn to discover which electron source is most suitable for a desktop SEM.

Considering a desktop scanning electron microscope (SEM)? If so, then it is important to determine what type of electron source fits your needs, since it has a direct effect on the quality of your output. In this blog, we'll therefore describe compare a Tungsten electron source with a CeB6 electron source. Read on to learn to discover which electron source is most suitable for a desktop SEM.

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STOP outsourcing your scanning electron microscopy research — get your own SEM!

By Karl Kersten - Sep 6, 2018

Are you a lab operator who wants to stop outsourcing your scanning electron microscopy jobs and buy your own Scanning Electron Microscope? Then you’ve probably already calculated that a personal SEM is a worthwhile capital investment. But the operational costs of SEM are just as important too: all the ongoing equipment expenses related to an SEM like the facilities, its maintenance, and operators.

Are you a lab operator who wants to stop outsourcing your scanning electron microscopy jobs and buy your own Scanning Electron Microscope? Then you’ve probably already calculated that a personal SEM is a worthwhile capital investment. But the operational costs of SEM are just as important too: all the ongoing equipment expenses related to an SEM like the facilities, its maintenance, and operators.

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Electron lenses and aberrations: what affects the resolution in electron microscopes?

By Marijke Scotuzzi - Aug 30, 2018

Resolution is one of the most important parameters in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The lower the resolution, the smaller the features that can be seen. The resolution, which is typically not defined (and therefore measured) in a unique way, depends on the size of the beam when focused on the sample.

Resolution is one of the most important parameters in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The lower the resolution, the smaller the features that can be seen. The resolution, which is typically not defined (and therefore measured) in a unique way, depends on the size of the beam when focused on the sample.

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Why SEM is the most suitable method for fiber analysis

By Karl Kersten - Aug 23, 2018

Fibers are all around us. Different types of fibers exist, but in most cases we do not notice them because they are used in a product. In case an object is much longer as it is wide we consider it a fiber. Fibers have specific properties for the product in which they are used. This blog will describe the different ways these fibers can be classified and how their performance can best be analysed. Hint: it has something to do with putting fibers under a specific type of microscope. You're about to discover the most suitable method for fiber analysis, so do read on!

Fibers are all around us. Different types of fibers exist, but in most cases we do not notice them because they are used in a product. In case an object is much longer as it is wide we consider it a fiber. Fibers have specific properties for the product in which they are used. This blog will describe the different ways these fibers can be classified and how their performance can best be analysed. Hint: it has something to do with putting fibers under a specific type of microscope. You're about to discover the most suitable method for fiber analysis, so do read on!

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Automated scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging: how it's used

By Karl Kersten - Aug 16, 2018

In a previous blog, we described how automating scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging saves researchers and operators valuable time. A lot of scanning electron microscope users use this for a wide range of purposes. This blog shows an example of how automated SEM imaging is used in the field: it details performing an automated Laser-Induced Damage Threshold test (LIDT).

In a previous blog, we described how automating scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging saves researchers and operators valuable time. A lot of scanning electron microscope users use this for a wide range of purposes. This blog shows an example of how automated SEM imaging is used in the field: it details performing an automated Laser-Induced Damage Threshold test (LIDT).

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Sputter coating for SEM: how this sample preparation technique assists your imaging

By Antonis Nanakoudis - Aug 9, 2018

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, sputter coating the samples prior to working with SEMs is recommended, or even necessary, in order to get a good SEM image. In this blog, we will explain how the sputter coating process 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, sputter coating the samples prior to working with SEMs is recommended, or even necessary, in order to get a good SEM image. In this blog, we will explain how the sputter coating process works, and to which type of samples it should be applied.

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