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“Visualize the truth” is a hope of researchers who use various measuring equipment. Researchers who use electron microscopes as well have a desire to observe the real structure. But actually, in experiments using electron microscopes, many problems arise: They include damage regions of the specimen when it is cut for the size suited to observation, artifacts due to the staining that is applied to enhance image contrast, deformation caused by substitution of water to resin for withstanding vacuum exposure, and thermal damage to the specimen with electron-beam irradiation. As a result, the visualization of the real structure in the microscope image becomes increasingly difficult. One recommended solution is to cool the specimen, that is, “Cryo” techniques. This “Cryo Note” introduces some of the diversified cryo-techniques. We sincerely hope your challenge to observe the “real structure” will be solved by “Cryo” methods.

Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) support the development of new LIB technologies with morphological observation at the micrometer to nanometer scale, as well as the chemical analysis needed to create high-performance coatings and powders. Ultra-low voltage imaging combined with signal filtering in the SEM allows direct imaging and analysis of battery constituents (anode and cathode) with nanometer resolution. Additionally, one of the important aspects of the analysis is the ability to probe chemistry of the constituents at nm scale (Fig. 1). JEOL FESEM offers the ability to perform microanalysis with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) at extremely low voltages to pinpoint localized makeup of the specimens and, in particular, low atomic number materials such as carbon and fluorine. Moreover, the unique JEOL Soft X-ray spectrometer (SXES) allows researchers to analyze Li.

In recent years with the advances in both EBSD and FE-SEM technology there have been renewed efforts at analyzing nanostructured materials at high temperatures using dedicated specimen holders and sub-stages. Although the techniques for EBSD analysis of bulk materials using heating stages have been well established [1], the requirements for nanostructured materials preparation and analysis obviously differs from bulk materials and can benefit from a miniaturized heater with smaller sample/higher temperature capacity capability [2].

Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) is a powerful technique capable of characterizing extremely fine grained microstructures in a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Electron Backscatter Patterns (EBSPs) are generated near the sample surface, typically from a depth in the range 10 – 50nm. In order to achieve effective analysis it is imperative to combine high beam current with small probe size to achieve high spatial resolution in a time efficient manner.

Utilizing Monte Carlo Modeling of electron trajectories Electron Flight Simulator is a software tool designed to make your job easier. It can help you understand difficult samples, show the best way to run an analysis, and help explain results to others. With it you can see how the electron beam penetrates your sample, and where the X-ray signal comes from, for a wide variety of microscope conditions. You can model multiple layers, particles, defects, inclusions, and cross-sections. Any sample chemistry can be modeled.

JEOL’s in column Upper Electron Detector (Through The Lens Detector) provides not only ultra-high resolution imaging but also includes a user selectable energy filter allowing the user to study a sample under different contrast mechanisms. For example, this energy filter allows the user to select low energy secondary electrons (SE) to enhance topographic features or high energy backscatter electrons (BSE) to highlight atomic number contrast. This detector is especially useful at lower kVs.

In the last decade there has been a quantum leap in the ability of scanning electron microscopes to observe a variety of materials and biological specimens with ultrahigh resolution and exceptional surface detail, in particular employing low voltage SEM. Low voltage imaging has become a key technique for charge control and reduction, especially in the cases where no surface modification (for example conductive coating) can be employed to alleviate specimen charging during SEM observation.

One of the main imaging artifacts generated during specimen observation in SEM is specimen charging. The effect of charging manifests itself either via ‘flattening’ of the image due to the beam deflection close to the source of charging, or extremely high or low contrast and image distortion. This artifact can be substantially reduced by either application of conductive coating to the sample or by lowering the primary beam voltage. Contemporary FE-SEMs have the ability to produce nm size spot sizes even at 1kV and below, paving the way for high resolution imaging and analysis of nanomaterials and surfaces without the need for conductive coating.

The quest for renewable energy sources is prompting the development of technologies capable of tapping into alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energy. To fully exploit these energy sources, engineers need novel ways of storing and converting these energies.

Graphene is a crystalline form of carbon defined as a hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms in a one-atom thick planar sheet. Graphene has outstanding properties (mainly mechanical strength, optical transparency and excellent electrical and heat conductivity) that make it an attractive material for electronics applications. Traditionally, graphene structures have been imaged with aberration-corrected TEM, AFM, or STM.

Other Resources

  • Image Gallery
    View a selection of electron images
  • FAQs
    See answers from questions often asked about our SEM and Surface Analysis instruments
  • Links & Resources
    View our page of useful and interesting links to various electron microscopy resources
  • Videos
    View some product presentations of our instruments
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