Topic: sample-preparation

Imaging fibers with a SEM: how to obtain a flawless quality analysis

By Marijke Scotuzzi - Dec 6, 2018

In our daily life, we make use of a large amount of objects and devices that are produced from fibers. Fibers are usually 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 a high analysis quality through proper SEM configuration and sample preparation. 

In our daily life, we make use of a large amount of objects and devices that are produced from fibers. Fibers are usually 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 a high analysis quality through proper SEM configuration and sample preparation. 

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Sample preparation: how to disperse powder for amazing SEM images

By Willem van Zyl - Nov 16, 2018

The ability to analyze particles is becoming increasingly more important due to the rising prominence of additive manufacturing, leading to more stringent quality requirements for industrial manufacturers. Beyond maximizing yields, manufacturers need to ensure that their processes consistently deliver particles that have the appropriate size and morphology.

The ability to analyze particles is becoming increasingly more important due to the rising prominence of additive manufacturing, leading to more stringent quality requirements for industrial manufacturers. Beyond maximizing yields, manufacturers need to ensure that their processes consistently deliver particles that have the appropriate size and morphology.

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How sample preparation for SEM helps lab operators produce images faster

By Karl Kersten - Nov 1, 2018

As a seasoned lab operator, you work with microscopes for the majority of the day, and are very specialized in sample preparation and handling the SEM system. And it’s a responsible job: your output leads to the overall improvement of your company’s products and company results. Therefore, the quality of your work must be outstanding. But at the same time, you want to deliver output quickly. 

As a seasoned lab operator, you work with microscopes for the majority of the day, and are very specialized in sample preparation and handling the SEM system. And it’s a responsible job: your output leads to the overall improvement of your company’s products and company results. Therefore, the quality of your work must be outstanding. But at the same time, you want to deliver output quickly. 

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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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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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