Electron Microscopy

A wide variety of characterization techniques are available using electron microscopy.

Scanning electron microscopes (SEM) can image and analyze a variety of specimens over a wide range of magnifications up to and above 100,000x with a high depth of focus (several mm). SEMs can be used to analyze metals, ceramics, polymers, and bio materials (note that hydrated and biological specimens require use of an environmental SEM as opposed to a high-vacuum system). Typical samples include: bulk materials, both polished and fracture surfaces, whole components, thin films, powders, etc.

SEM imaging and analysis capabilities in the School of Materials Engineering characterization facilities include: secondary electron (SE) imaging, backscatter electron (BSE) imaging, topographic BSE imaging, elemental analysis using energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and crystallographic orientation/phase analysis using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD).

Transmission electron microscopes (TEM) can analyze small samples up to and above 1,000,000x using bright field imaing, electron diffraction, and characteristic X-rays for elemental analysis with EDS. TEMs have exceptionally high resolution and magnification capabilities, but require very thin specimens (approx. 100nm thick).

Use of the advanced electron microscopes (FESEM, TEM) require enrollment in MSE581 (SEM) and/or MSE582 (TEM). Click on the class links for registration information.


NanoScience Instruments Phenom Desktop SEM


FEI Technai 20 TEM

FEI Technai 20 Femto TEM

Specimen Preparation Facilities

Birck Nanotechnology Center

Life Sciences Microscopy Center