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Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) provides high-resolution and high depth-of-field images of the sample surface and near-surface.  SEM is one of the most widely used analytical tools due to the extremely detailed images it can quickly provide. Coupled to an auxiliary Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) detector, SEM also offers elemental identification of nearly the entire periodic table.

EAG uses SEM analysis in cases where optical microscopy cannot provide sufficient image resolution or high enough magnification. The SEM also excels in producing detailed surface topography images.  Applications include failure analysis, dimensional analysis, process characterization, reverse engineering, and particle identification.

EAG’s expertise and range of experience is invaluable to the industries and customers we serve. Person-to-person service ensures good communication of the results and their implications. Customers are often present during the analysis, enabling an immediate sharing of data, imaging and information.

Ideal Uses
  • High resolution surface topography images
  • Elemental microanalysis and particle characterization
Technical Specifications

Signals Detected: Secondary & backscattered electrons and x-rays, absorbed current, light (Cathodoluminescence) and Electron Beam Induced current (EBIC)
Elements Detected: B-U (EDS mode)
Detection Limits: 0.1-1at%
EDS Chemical depth resolution: 0.5-3µm
Imaging/Mapping: Yes
Lateral Resolution/Probe Size: 15-45Å

Strengths
  • Rapid, high-resolution imaging
  • Quick identification of elements present
  • Excellent depth of field (10X to 100X that of optical microscopy)
  • Versatile platform that supports many other tools
  • Low vacuum mode enables imaging of insulating and hydrated samples
Limitations
  • May need to etch planar samples for contrast
  • Size restrictions may require cutting the sample
  • Ultimate resolution is a strong function of the sample and the sample preparation method
  • If UHV surface analysis is required, it should be done first to avoid the possible introduction of surface carbon by the SEM