Topic: sample-preparation

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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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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Sample degradation during SEM analysis: what causes it and how to slow down the process

By Karl Kersten - Jul 19, 2018

When using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), the electron beam can, over time, permanently alter or degrade the sample that is being observed. Sample degradation is an unwanted effect as it can alter — or even destroy — the details you want to see, and consequently change your results and conclusions. In this blog, I will explain what can cause sample degradation, and how you can slow down the process.

When using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), the electron beam can, over time, permanently alter or degrade the sample that is being observed. Sample degradation is an unwanted effect as it can alter — or even destroy — the details you want to see, and consequently change your results and conclusions. In this blog, I will explain what can cause sample degradation, and how you can slow down the process.

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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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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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What is depth of field and how can I optimize it in a scanning electron microscope?

By Luigi Raspolini - May 3, 2018

Imaging with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) consists of taking pictures of small features. So why not consider a comparison with photography? Let’s analyze how similar the behaviors of a SEM and a camera are when it comes to focusing on your subject, and what the exact definition of depth of field is.

Tip: Get a free demo of our Desktop SEM and discover it's capabilities for your research
Request your personal demo

Imaging with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) consists of taking pictures of small features. So why not consider a comparison with photography? Let’s analyze how similar the behaviors of a SEM and a camera are when it comes to focusing on your subject, and what the exact definition of depth of field is.

Tip: Get a free demo of our Desktop SEM and discover it's capabilities for your research
Request your personal demo

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How SEM helps research polymers characteristics, properties, and uses

By Luigi Raspolini - Apr 19, 2018

Polymers have many uses and applications: engineered combinations of monomers produce a nearly infinite number of molecules with different properties, which are determined by the chemical composition and structure of the molecule. The form of the molecule has a big influence on how the polymer will behave when exposed to different external forces. In this blog, you’ll find practical examples of how Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs) can provide unexpected results.

Polymers have many uses and applications: engineered combinations of monomers produce a nearly infinite number of molecules with different properties, which are determined by the chemical composition and structure of the molecule. The form of the molecule has a big influence on how the polymer will behave when exposed to different external forces. In this blog, you’ll find practical examples of how Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs) can provide unexpected results.

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How-to: high-quality fiber analysis through proper SEM sample preparation

By Marijke Scotuzzi - Jan 18, 2018

Fibers are generally imaged in a scanning electron microscope (SEM), which provides high-resolution images, elemental analysis, and the possibility of automatically measuring thousands of fibers in mere minutes. But in some cases, imaging fibers with a SEM also presents challenges as the nature of some fibers might compromise the quality of your analysis. With this in mind, this blog describes how you can obtain high-quality imaging and fiber analysis through proper SEM configuration and sample preparation.

Fibers are generally imaged in a scanning electron microscope (SEM), which provides high-resolution images, elemental analysis, and the possibility of automatically measuring thousands of fibers in mere minutes. But in some cases, imaging fibers with a SEM also presents challenges as the nature of some fibers might compromise the quality of your analysis. With this in mind, this blog describes how you can obtain high-quality imaging and fiber analysis through proper SEM configuration and sample preparation.

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Sample preparation techniques for SEM to neutralize the effect of vacuum

By Luigi Raspolini - Aug 24, 2017

Scanning electron microscopes (SEM) scan the surface of the sample with an electron beam, collecting reflected electrons which carry information about the material the electrons interact with. If gas is in the sample chamber, its atoms interact with the beam, partly deflecting electrons and adding noise to the image. 

This is the reason why vacuum must be achieved in SEM before imaging. But while vacuum is crucial for proper analysis, it can also have a negative effect on certain types of materials. Read this blog to learn how you can neutralize vacuum and keep your samples intact.

Scanning electron microscopes (SEM) scan the surface of the sample with an electron beam, collecting reflected electrons which carry information about the material the electrons interact with. If gas is in the sample chamber, its atoms interact with the beam, partly deflecting electrons and adding noise to the image. 

This is the reason why vacuum must be achieved in SEM before imaging. But while vacuum is crucial for proper analysis, it can also have a negative effect on certain types of materials. Read this blog to learn how you can neutralize vacuum and keep your samples intact.

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Expert sample preparation techniques for SEM

By Luigi Raspolini - Aug 17, 2017

When using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) for the first time, you might have doubts about what can be imaged. You might also struggle to get the image quality you were expecting. Luckily, you can easily improve your results by following the simple yet powerful sample preparation techniques for SEM in this blog. Read on! 

When using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) for the first time, you might have doubts about what can be imaged. You might also struggle to get the image quality you were expecting. Luckily, you can easily improve your results by following the simple yet powerful sample preparation techniques for SEM in this blog. Read on! 

Read more

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