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How next-generation composite materials are manufactured and analysed

By Luigi Raspolini - Mar 7, 2019

The technical specifications of next-generation materials are taking our technology to a completely new level, allowing us to create products with outstanding properties that were impossible to achieve in the past. These materials are the result of a huge drive toward innovation in material science and could only be achieved because of the invention of the first composite materials and their introduction into the industrial landscape.

In this article, I describe how these next-generation materials are being developed — and equally important: how their chemical composition is analysed, and their performance is measured.

The technical specifications of next-generation materials are taking our technology to a completely new level, allowing us to create products with outstanding properties that were impossible to achieve in the past. These materials are the result of a huge drive toward innovation in material science and could only be achieved because of the invention of the first composite materials and their introduction into the industrial landscape.

In this article, I describe how these next-generation materials are being developed — and equally important: how their chemical composition is analysed, and their performance is measured.

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How to spot astigmatism in Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images

By Willem van Zyl - Feb 28, 2019

You may have heard of astigmatism as a medical condition that causes visual impairment in up to 40% of adults [1], but how is this applicable to electron microscopy? First of all, let’s talk about what the word astigmatism, in fact, means: It is derived from the negative prefix ‘a’ (without) + ‘stigmat-’ (mark, or point, in Ancient Greek) + ‘ism’ (condition). In a perfect optical system, a lens has only one focal point, and is stigmatic. When the lens has more than one focal point, however, we refer to the lens as being astigmatic. This happens when the lens is elongated in either the sagittal (y-axis) or tangential (x-axis) plane, resulting in two focal points (= foci).

You may have heard of astigmatism as a medical condition that causes visual impairment in up to 40% of adults [1], but how is this applicable to electron microscopy? First of all, let’s talk about what the word astigmatism, in fact, means: It is derived from the negative prefix ‘a’ (without) + ‘stigmat-’ (mark, or point, in Ancient Greek) + ‘ism’ (condition). In a perfect optical system, a lens has only one focal point, and is stigmatic. When the lens has more than one focal point, however, we refer to the lens as being astigmatic. This happens when the lens is elongated in either the sagittal (y-axis) or tangential (x-axis) plane, resulting in two focal points (= foci).

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SEM: types of electrons, their detection and the information they provide

By Antonis Nanakoudis - Feb 21, 2019

Electron microscopes are very versatile instruments, which can provide different types of information depending on the user’s needs. In this blog we will describe the different types of electrons that are produced in a SEM, how they are detected and the type of information that they can provide.

Electron microscopes are very versatile instruments, which can provide different types of information depending on the user’s needs. In this blog we will describe the different types of electrons that are produced in a SEM, how they are detected and the type of information that they can provide.

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SEM automation – the future of scanning electron microscopy

By Rose Helweg - Feb 14, 2019

Kai van Beek, Director of Market Development at Thermo Fisher Scientific™, analyzes the market and how the company's products fit customers' current and future needs. Together with his team, he defines the roadmap for product development. For almost 20 years, he has been working with automated scanning electron microscopy (SEM) solutions. In this interview, Kai looks back over many years of SEM experience and talks about current and future automated SEM products, the demands of the market and his personal vision regarding the automation of SEM.

Kai van Beek, Director of Market Development at Thermo Fisher Scientific™, analyzes the market and how the company's products fit customers' current and future needs. Together with his team, he defines the roadmap for product development. For almost 20 years, he has been working with automated scanning electron microscopy (SEM) solutions. In this interview, Kai looks back over many years of SEM experience and talks about current and future automated SEM products, the demands of the market and his personal vision regarding the automation of SEM.

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How engineers and researchers can boost polymers properties with SEM

By Luigi Raspolini - Feb 7, 2019

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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Microscopic investigation of embedded samples

By Karl Kersten - Jan 31, 2019

The purpose of embedding is to protect fragile or coated materials during preparation, and to obtain good edge retention. Embedding is also used to produce specimens of a uniform size, such as minerals, clay or other particles and can also be used to section a material and investigate its interior.

The purpose of embedding is to protect fragile or coated materials during preparation, and to obtain good edge retention. Embedding is also used to produce specimens of a uniform size, such as minerals, clay or other particles and can also be used to section a material and investigate its interior.

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Why the plastics industry relies heavily on microscopy analysis

By Luigi Raspolini - Jan 24, 2019

Ever since oil became fundamental to industry, scientists and engineers from all around the world have carried out more and more research into how different organic molecules can be combined in certain patterns to obtain new materials with amazing properties. Commonly called plastics, they are known to the scientific community as polymers — chemical compounds with a highly-engineered chemical structure and composition. The analysis of these compounds is crucial in helping to improve polymer production processes. This article discusses how electron microscopy can provide the analysis that polymer developers need to improve product quality significantly.

Ever since oil became fundamental to industry, scientists and engineers from all around the world have carried out more and more research into how different organic molecules can be combined in certain patterns to obtain new materials with amazing properties. Commonly called plastics, they are known to the scientific community as polymers — chemical compounds with a highly-engineered chemical structure and composition. The analysis of these compounds is crucial in helping to improve polymer production processes. This article discusses how electron microscopy can provide the analysis that polymer developers need to improve product quality significantly.

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SEM trends: what is next? Automated scanning electron microscopy

By Willem van Zyl - Jan 17, 2019

Automated scanning electron microscopy (SEM) saves operators valuable time. Both in research and in industry this further development of SEM is in great demand and is a rapidly growing field. Thermo Fisher Scientific™ already offers innovative Phenom desktop SEM products and applications for automated imaging as well as analysis.

Automated scanning electron microscopy (SEM) saves operators valuable time. Both in research and in industry this further development of SEM is in great demand and is a rapidly growing field. Thermo Fisher Scientific™ already offers innovative Phenom desktop SEM products and applications for automated imaging as well as analysis.

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Topics: Automation

Why SEM is a valuable technique for nanoparticle characterization

By Antonis Nanakoudis - Jan 10, 2019

The continuous increase of microscopic particles’ use in a huge range of applications has created the need of accurate control of their properties. I will explain why the use of precise monitoring and characterization of particles is required and how scanning electron microscopy can prove to be a valuable characterization method for you. Especially due to its versatility and superior spatial resolution.   

The continuous increase of microscopic particles’ use in a huge range of applications has created the need of accurate control of their properties. I will explain why the use of precise monitoring and characterization of particles is required and how scanning electron microscopy can prove to be a valuable characterization method for you. Especially due to its versatility and superior spatial resolution.   

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Everything is nano these days: to improve the world of nanotechnology we make extremely fast SEM imaging and analysis accessible to everyone

By Karl Kersten - Dec 20, 2018

Imaging with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is a powerful tool for any materials scientist, though historically, accessing the technique was an issue. SEM involved using large, expensive systems that were only available to large research institutions. Even then, access was often difficult, due to long waiting lists and because their complex operation required in-depth training.

Imaging with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is a powerful tool for any materials scientist, though historically, accessing the technique was an issue. SEM involved using large, expensive systems that were only available to large research institutions. Even then, access was often difficult, due to long waiting lists and because their complex operation required in-depth training.

Read more

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