Blog

SEM automation guidelines for small script development: image analysis

By Wouter Arts - Jul 12, 2018

Scripts are small automated software tools that can help a scanning electron microscope (SEM) user with their work. In my previous blog I wrote about how SEM images can be acquired with the Phenom Programming Interface (PPI) using a small script. In this blog I will explain how to extract physical properties from those SEM images.

Scripts are small automated software tools that can help a scanning electron microscope (SEM) user with their work. In my previous blog I wrote about how SEM images can be acquired with the Phenom Programming Interface (PPI) using a small script. In this blog I will explain how to extract physical properties from those SEM images.

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SEM technology: the role of the electron beam voltage in electron microscopy analysis

By Luigi Raspolini - Jul 6, 2018

When conducting electron microscopy (EM) analysis, there are a few important parameters that must be taken into account to produce the best possible results, and to image the feature of interest. One of the crucial roles is played by the voltage (or tension) applied to the source electrodes to generate the electron beam. Historically, the trend has always been to increase the voltage to improve the resolution of the system.

It is only in recent years that scanning electron microscope (SEM) producers have started to focus on improving the resolution at lower voltages. A major role in this has been the expanding field of application of EM to the life sciences - especially after the introduction of the Nobel prize-winning cryo-SEM technique. This blog will focus on the effects of the voltage on the results of electron microscopy analysis.


When conducting electron microscopy (EM) analysis, there are a few important parameters that must be taken into account to produce the best possible results, and to image the feature of interest. One of the crucial roles is played by the voltage (or tension) applied to the source electrodes to generate the electron beam. Historically, the trend has always been to increase the voltage to improve the resolution of the system.

It is only in recent years that scanning electron microscope (SEM) producers have started to focus on improving the resolution at lower voltages. A major role in this has been the expanding field of application of EM to the life sciences - especially after the introduction of the Nobel prize-winning cryo-SEM technique. This blog will focus on the effects of the voltage on the results of electron microscopy analysis.


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The Phenom Process Automation: mixing backscattered and secondary electron images using a Python script

By Marijke Scotuzzi - Jun 28, 2018

When the primary beam interacts with the sample, backscattered electrons (BSEs) and secondary electrons (SEs) are generated. Images of the samples obtained by detecting the emitted signals, carry information on the composition (for BSE signals) and on the topography (for SE signals). How are BSEs and SEs formed and why do they carry specific information? Moreover, is it possible to get both compositional and topographical information in one image? And how flexible is this solution? In this blog, I will answer these questions and introduce a script that allows users to mix their own images.

When the primary beam interacts with the sample, backscattered electrons (BSEs) and secondary electrons (SEs) are generated. Images of the samples obtained by detecting the emitted signals, carry information on the composition (for BSE signals) and on the topography (for SE signals). How are BSEs and SEs formed and why do they carry specific information? Moreover, is it possible to get both compositional and topographical information in one image? And how flexible is this solution? In this blog, I will answer these questions and introduce a script that allows users to mix their own images.

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EDX analysis with a scanning electron microscope (SEM): how does it work?

By Antonis Nanakoudis - Jun 21, 2018

Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) employ electron beams in order to get information from a sample at the nanoscale. The main type of signals that are detected are the backscattered (BSE) and secondary electrons (SE), which generate a grayscale image of the sample at very high magnifications. However, there are many other signals which can be a product of the electron-matter interaction, and these can provide additional information about the sample. In this blog we will describe how energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX or EDS) analysis works on a SEM.

Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) employ electron beams in order to get information from a sample at the nanoscale. The main type of signals that are detected are the backscattered (BSE) and secondary electrons (SE), which generate a grayscale image of the sample at very high magnifications. However, there are many other signals which can be a product of the electron-matter interaction, and these can provide additional information about the sample. In this blog we will describe how energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX or EDS) analysis works on a SEM.

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SEM working principle: the detection of backscattered electrons

By Marijke Scotuzzi - Jun 14, 2018

Backscattered electrons (BSEs) are high-energy electrons that are produced by the elastic scattering of the primary beam electrons with the atom nuclei. The yield of BSEs, that is the ratio of the number of emitted BSEs and the amount of primary beam electrons, depends on the atomic number: the higher the atomic number, or the heavier the element, the brighter the contrast. In the Phenom SEM, BSEs are detected using four-quadrant semiconductor detectors placed above the sample. In this blog, we will explain what a semiconductor detector is and how backscattered electrons are detected in a scanning electron microscope.

Backscattered electrons (BSEs) are high-energy electrons that are produced by the elastic scattering of the primary beam electrons with the atom nuclei. The yield of BSEs, that is the ratio of the number of emitted BSEs and the amount of primary beam electrons, depends on the atomic number: the higher the atomic number, or the heavier the element, the brighter the contrast. In the Phenom SEM, BSEs are detected using four-quadrant semiconductor detectors placed above the sample. In this blog, we will explain what a semiconductor detector is and how backscattered electrons are detected in a scanning electron microscope.

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What is SEM? Scanning electron microscope technology explained

By Antonis Nanakoudis - Jun 7, 2018

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has become a powerful and versatile tool for material characterization. This is especially so in recent years, due to the continuous shrinking of the dimension of materials used in various applications. In this blog, we explain what SEM is and describe the main working principles of a SEM instrument.

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has become a powerful and versatile tool for material characterization. This is especially so in recent years, due to the continuous shrinking of the dimension of materials used in various applications. In this blog, we explain what SEM is and describe the main working principles of a SEM instrument.

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Battery research with a SEM: inspecting one layer at a time

By Luigi Raspolini - May 31, 2018

Batteries revolutionized the world of electronics by enabling us to carry an energy reserve in our pockets. Miniaturization and efficiency are the two key words when it comes to new developments in this field, impacting with the battery materials’ properties and stretching their limits. Let’s take a look at how researchers characterize materials and gather relevant information about batteries using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Batteries revolutionized the world of electronics by enabling us to carry an energy reserve in our pockets. Miniaturization and efficiency are the two key words when it comes to new developments in this field, impacting with the battery materials’ properties and stretching their limits. Let’s take a look at how researchers characterize materials and gather relevant information about batteries using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

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Guidelines for small script development: image acquisition

By Wouter Arts - May 24, 2018

Scripts are small software tools that help a Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) operator in their daily work. It can be used to automate a repetitive task, to scan large areas quickly, or to obtain a higher repeatability between measurements. To do this a software script must be developed. In this blog we will give guidelines how to develop a small script.

Scripts are small software tools that help a Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) operator in their daily work. It can be used to automate a repetitive task, to scan large areas quickly, or to obtain a higher repeatability between measurements. To do this a software script must be developed. In this blog we will give guidelines how to develop a small script.

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Additive manufacturing: improving the quality of AM processes through SEM analysis

By Antonis Nanakoudis - May 17, 2018

In a previous blog, we introduced Additive Manufacturing (AM) as a new manufacturing approach and described its key points (you can read the blog here). Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D printing or rapid prototyping, has attracted the attention of many people and industries around the world due to its unlimited and promising potential. In this blog we will describe how the use of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) can be a powerful tool to monitor and improve the quality of additive manufacturingprocesses.

In a previous blog, we introduced Additive Manufacturing (AM) as a new manufacturing approach and described its key points (you can read the blog here). Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D printing or rapid prototyping, has attracted the attention of many people and industries around the world due to its unlimited and promising potential. In this blog we will describe how the use of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) can be a powerful tool to monitor and improve the quality of additive manufacturingprocesses.

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Effective asbestos detection with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

By Luigi Raspolini - May 10, 2018

Resistance to fire, sound absorption, tensile strength and low price caused a boost in asbestos mining activities at the beginning of 19th century.

Already used in the production of asphalt, brake pads, electrical insulators, fireproof suits, technical fabrics and other everyday products, asbestos started its golden century when the Austrian engineer Ludwig Hatschek invented the first asbestos-cement, often mistakenly referred to as Eternit.

The material properties, particularly its lightness and resilience, started a real revolution in the construction engineering and asbestos-cements factories, which immediately emerged all over the world.

Resistance to fire, sound absorption, tensile strength and low price caused a boost in asbestos mining activities at the beginning of 19th century.

Already used in the production of asphalt, brake pads, electrical insulators, fireproof suits, technical fabrics and other everyday products, asbestos started its golden century when the Austrian engineer Ludwig Hatschek invented the first asbestos-cement, often mistakenly referred to as Eternit.

The material properties, particularly its lightness and resilience, started a real revolution in the construction engineering and asbestos-cements factories, which immediately emerged all over the world.

Read more

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