Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) are among the most powerful research tools as they have a much larger depth of field than optical microscopes and dramatically higher magnifications, combined with the ability to conduct chemical analyses using spectroscopic methods.
SEM imaging is such a versatile tool that critical objectives (i.e. visualising microstructures) can often be obtained via a single image. However, this is insufficient in situations where scientists are hoping to resolve a range of material properties with various implications for future technologies. Such research objectives typically demand a multidimensional approach, whereby SEM imaging is combined with a unique workflow of additional testing equipment.
Integrated Workflows via Tabletop SEM Imaging
SEM imaging has historically been limited to large laboratories with the budget and space to justify the installation of full-scale scanning electron microscopes. The genesis of compact SEM instruments designed to fit on a benchtop have altered that landscape, and the onset of new technologies has made it possible to integrate additional testing equipment into SEMs, creating self-contained nano-laboratories.
At JEOL, we offer tabletop workflow solutions that enable researchers to establish a compact and user-friendly environment for robust analyses using SEM imaging and a combination of chemical, electrical, and/or mechanical test equipment. This enables users to seamlessly prepare, test, and analyse various samples in a single unit, without ever compromising data integrity.
SEM Imaging Workflows: Components for Sample Preparation
In addition to providing seamless navigation and cross-referencing; real-time embedded chemical analysis; particle and fiber analysis; and 3D topographical analysis, our SEM imaging workflows come with auxilliary components that ensure the integrity of your results by preparing optimal samples for analysis. These include:
- The Smart Coater is a compact and fully automated sputter coating device used to apply an extremely fine-grained carbon or metal coating over non-conductive specimens with exceptional consistency. This thin conducive film effectively eliminates charging of non-conductive samples and can enhance the emission of secondary electron emission for clearer SEM imaging.
- The Ion Beam Cross Section Polisher (CP) is a high-speed milling device which uses an argon beam to polish pristine cross sections with wide areas of preparation. This technique eliminates the artefacts typical of mechanical milling, instead producing defect-free sample cross sections without contaminating them in any way.
These integrated solutions enable users to prepare immaculate samples prior to SEM imaging. If you would like to learn more about the additional features of our tabletop SEMs, read Compact Tabletop Imaging and Analysis Workflows – A Multidimensional Approach.
Looking for SEM Imaging Solutions?
JEOL is the industry-leading manufacturer of innovative SEM platforms, with experience stretching back to the early 1960s and the inception of the world’s first commercial SEMs. Alongside practical applications support and training, we offer comprehensive workflow solutions that empower microscopists to obtain the best images possible of their samples. This is paramount in exploring new generations of macro- and nanoscale materials, for investigating critical quality issues, and for a host of emerging applications that can only be enabled by robust multidimensional analysis. Explore our SEM imaging solutions to find out which SEM is right for your application.