Desktop SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopes)

The SNE Series of Desktop SEM (also known as Benchtop or Tabletop Scanning Electron Microscopes) offer a wide range of capabilities to address the needs of materials research and microscopic examination.

SNE-3200M Tabletop SEM


Standard Resolution Desktop SEM with 3-Axis XYR stage, 15nm Resolution, 30 kV

Detail View >>>

SNE-4500M Tabletop SEM


High Resolution Desktop SEM with 5-Axis XYZRT stage, 5nm Resolution, Variable Apertures

Detail View >>>

SNE-4500M Tabletop SEM

SNE-4500M Plus

Premium Desktop SEM with Motorized 5-Axis XYZRT stage, Nav Cam, 150,000X

Detail View >>>

Accessories for Desktop SEM

Bruker Xflash EDS

Bruker EDS for Desktop SEM

Xflash® 630 EDS for Desktop SEM with 30mm² SDD and Esprit Compact or full featured Quantax 200 software

Detail View >>>


iXRF EDS for Desktop SEM

EDS for Desktop SEM with 10 or 30mm² ultra-thin Be or polymer window and Iridium Ultra Software

Further Detail Coming Soon

EDAX Element EDS

EDAX EDS for Desktop SEM

Element SDD EDS for Desktop SEM with 30mm² Ultra-thin Silicon Nitride window and APEX™ Software

Detail View >>>

MIPAR Image Analysis software

MIPAR Image Analysis

MIPAR Image Analysis software for detailed feature analysis statistics of Particles, Pores, Fibers, Cells and more

Detail View >>>

Compact Sputter Coaters for Tabletop SEM

Sputter Coaters

Sample Preparation for Non-Conductive specimens in Desktop SEM and Full-Size Scanning Electron Microscopes

Detail View >>>

Anti-Vibration Supports for Tabletop SEM

Anti-Vibration Options

Anti-Vibration desktop platforms and tables improve high magnification imaging above 30,000X

Detail View >>>

STEM Adapter for Tabletop SEM

TEM Imaging Adapter

STEM Adapter for basic TEM imaging using standard 3mm grid supported specimens and particles

Further Detail Coming Soon

STEM Adapter for Tabletop SEM

SEM Accessories

Sample Holders for any need

Calibration Standards for EDS, Stigmation and Magnification

Further Detail Coming Soon

Why Desktop SEM?

The prospective buyer of a Scanning Electron Microscope is faced with many decisions regarding microscope capabilities as they relate to the eventual cost of the system.  Beyond the initial acquisition cost depending on the type of microscope, there may also be significant on-going costs for maintenance, service costs for the tool, the cost of facilities and even specially trained operation personnel.

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.

In fact, these Tabletop SEM’s have even found their way into many STEM programs around the country for the valuable educational awareness they offer.  Being easy to use, even middle school children with supervision are now operating electron microscopes in science programs across the country thanks to the admirable efforts of electron microscope suppliers such as Hitachi and NanoScience (FEI/Phenom).

The original Tabletop SEM’s introduced around 2005 like the Hitachi TM-1000 or the original FEI Phenom G1 were not viewed with much respect by experienced electron microscopists due to their low magnification (under 10,000X) and low beam energy.  Today, current Tabletop SEM offerings have closed this gap with higher beam energies and resolutions approaching those of full-size tungsten filament systems.

The gap between capabilities of these compact, personal Tabletop SEM’s and full-size systems has grown much smaller.  For example, the SNE-4500 with its 5nm resolution, variable apertures, 5-axis stage, 30kV beam energy and full-featured EDS has practically equivalent capabilities to several full-size mid-range SEM’s such as the Hitachi FlexSEM 1000 or the Jeol JSM InTouch IT100 while costing less and requiring less space.

It is generally accepted that around 80-90% of scanning electron microscopy imaging work is done at magnifications less than 10,000X.  This is easily within the range of any SEM on the market today – not only the Tabletop SEM’s we offer such as the SNE-3200 but also those such as the Hitachi TM-4000, TM-3030Plus, TM-3030, Phenom-World ProX and Jeol NeoScope JCM-6000.  All of these systems are practical for many industrial quality analysis and many research efforts with each systems possessing their own unique capabilities for some sample types, presentation and method of utilization.

SIDE NOTE:  Some have asked us “Why do you reference your competitor’s systems?”  Well, mainly it is because we are confident that once you compare systems and prices, you will see for yourself the better value we offer.  We hope these links make your search for a solution a little easier.  We know all of the available systems fairly well and encourage you to Contact Us for a copy of our SEM Comparison Guide showing the general capabilities of theses systems in a simple to compare factual format.

Likewise, when high magnification is necessary, the buyer must be cautious regarding the marketing claims as pertains to the SEM’s ability to see nano-sized features of samples. The sample itself and how it can be prepared are often the limiting factor in what ultimate magnification is possible regardless of the microscope.  The SEM resolution, spot size and scanned image capture size will most often be a more important specification to compare as these play a direct role in what effective magnification is possible.  The prospective buyer is encouraged to witness the magnification of “live” images as well as “captured” images as the resolution and size of display monitors factor into the true capabilities.  Regardless of magnification claims, many Desktop SEM’s reach a level of “hollow” magnification where further detail present in a sample cannot be observed due to the limitation of the microscope’s resolution.  Resolution of the microscope and its ability to provide imaging showing that is usually much more important than ultimate magnification.

A Tabletop SEM (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.