Scanning Electron Microscopy


This is a brief description of our scanning electron microscopy capabilities...

Key Benefits

bulletHigh magnification
bulletHigh resolution
bulletLarge depth of field

Description of our SEM scope

Scanning Electron Microscopy and Electron Dispersive X-ray Spectrometry

 A scanning electron microscope creates high resolution, three dimensional images of a sample’s surface.  The sample, often gold-coated for electroconductivity, is bombarded with a focused beam of electrons which liberates secondary electrons from the sample’s surface.  A detector in the microscope systematically “counts” these electrons, recording data on their origin and emission intensity which can then be assembled into a high contrast, high resolution image.  Our laboratory features an ISI DS-130 scanning electron microscope with SIS Ultrascan 2 image acquisition software which is used to generate high quality digital images from the microscope.

 The microscope also features a Kevex electron dispersive x-ray spectrometer (EDX) which can be used to ascertain the elemental composition of the portion of a sample being visualized.  When a sample is struck by the SEM’s electron beam it emits x-rays which are picked up by the EDX.  Because each element emits x-rays of characteristic energies and wavelengths, the EDX unit is able to determine which element is responsible for the emission.  These data can be overlaid onto an SEM image to produce a virtual elemental map of a sample’s surface.

Sample Images





Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence for Elemental Analysis


Photographs developed in our darkroom


Capable of resolving 2mm



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Last modified: 01/11/05