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We recently contributed to an article to help point our topics to consider when buying an SEM. This article is published on AZoM.com. The market for tabletop Scanning Electron Microscopes has increased considerably due to the general shift toward smaller, faster, and more economical instrumentation. For a prospective buyer, the landscape [...]
Standard Resolution Tabletop SEM with 3-Axis XYR stage, 15nm Resolution, 30 kV
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High Resolution Tabletop SEM with 5-Axis XYZRT stage, 5nm Resolution, Variable Apertures
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Bruker XFlash EDS
Xflash® 630 EDS for Tabletop SEM with 30mm² SDD and Esprit Compact software
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What is a “Nano-Image”?
Early Scanning Electron Microscopes used photographic film to capture images and they were referred to as “MicroGraphs”. Today, modern SEM’s are able to peer into the “nano” world to see structure and features as small as a few nano-meters. Thus, “micrograph” no longer seems a fitting term. We call the captured images from our microscopes – “Nano-Images”.
Since their re-introduction to the microscopy market around 2005, Desktop SEM’s or Tabletop SEM’s as they have come to be known, are now widely considered a highly useful, microscopic analytical tool. They are utilized by many research and quality assurance laboratories. Companies and research groups that previously, would have never thought to acquire a full-sized SEM due to the cost, infrastructure and specially trained personnel required to operate them, are now finding Tabletop SEM systems to be a cost effective solution capable of providing the imaging, morphological and elemental analysis capabilities they require while simultaneously being very easy to use by multiple members of their technical staff.
A desktop scanning electron microscope can be used for imaging and microscopic analysis of biological, inorganic and man-made materials. All Scanning Electron Microscopes utilize a focused beam of electrons to scan the surface of a sample to collect a 3-dimensional image. Imaging detectors allow surface or topographical analysis (SE – secondary electrons) as well as composition analysis (BSE – backscatter electrons) and elemental chemistry analysis (EDS – energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy).
Unlike conventional, full-size scanning electron microscopes with large chambers, critical vacuum requirements and stringent ambient requirements, a Tabletop SEM can easily sit on a desktop or lab bench in a standard lab or industrial environment right beside other analytical instruments with no special requirements. The only utilities required are standard AC power and a small, quiet roughing vacuum pump. No special cooling, air conditioning, or foundation is necessary. When users wish to reach the highest magnifications, a simple anti-vibration table or support might be advisable due to ambient conditions in some environments.
Applications for SEM include Life Science (Biology, Forensics, Pharmaceuticals, Medical) and Material Science (Semiconductors, Geology, Metallurgy, Nanotechnology). These compact Tabletop SEM’s are also used when portability is required to take the analytical tool to the sample and obtain reliable imaging and other analysis on-site. Many labs using full-size SEM systems and busy core electron microscopy centers, are finding these small Tabletop SEM’s very useful for reducing backlog or for pre-checking a sample to locate features of interest prior to using valuable time on much more expensive systems.
Is now the time for your company or institute to consider Tabletop SEM? Contact Us for more information or to arrange a demonstration.