Topic: sample-preparation

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

By Karl Kersten - July 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 Karl Kersten - June 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 - April 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 Karl Kersten - January 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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