Scanning Electron Microscopy

Scanning Electron Microscopy is an excellent method for providing high spatial resolution images on a wide range of samples.  SEM provides high depth of focus images of 3 dimensional structures as well as compositional contrast images.  X-ray microanalysis to determine the actual composition of samples, and other spectroscopies are also possible if the instrument is fitted with additional hardware.

How it works – the sample is imaged with a finely focused electron beam that is scanned across the sample.  Various signals are generated as a result of the interaction of the electron beam with the sample.  These signals are collected with an appropriate detector. The most common signal used in an SEM is that from secondary electrons which display the sample morphology.