Workshops and Training

FE-SEM Series Workshop

FE-SEM Series Workshop

ΣIGMA, SUPRA®, ULTRA & MERLIN® Series

Day 1

The workshop will begin with a review of some fundamental principles to insure that each user understands the effects of changing parameters such as accelerating voltage, probe current and working distance on image quality. We will review GEMINI column optics, beam formation, beam-specimen interactions, specimen charging and the selection of detectors in image formation.

The time required for this workshop will depend on the user’s background; it can be omitted or abbreviated for users with previous SEM experience.

Operation of the ZEISS Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope:

This session will begin with a physical description of the instrument, powering the instrument, logging-on and components of the SmartSEM® Graphical User Interface (GUIF) and screen display.

We will begin with a practical evaluation of basic instrument performance discussing magnification calibration check using a grid standard and resolution check using Au on C standard.

Additional topics in this session will include parameter adjustments with the mouse, joystick, control panel, keyboard and tool bar icons functions. This session will also cover normal gun run up, aperture selection, high current mode and selecting beam parameters as well as restoring and saving SEM states and stage positions. Parameter adjustments of magnification-focus, brightness-contrast, and scan rate and aperture alignment and astigmatism correction will also be covered. The following fundamental operating modes will be covered:

  • Imaging with Everhart-Thornley & InLens SE detectors
  • Ultra low kV high resolution imaging
  • High depth of field imaging at long working distances and using HC-DOF mode
  • Backscattered Electron Imaging 
    • Compositional, topographic and channeling contrast imaging with QBSD and AsB below lens solid state detectors
    • High resolution low voltage compositional imaging with In-Column EsB detector on Ultra Series Instruments


During the course of this first day we will also cover all aspects of the user interface and introduce some of the extensive software features including administrative functions, help files, pre defined lists, annotation, toolbar icons, pull down menu functions, dialog panels including Stage Navigation, Safe Navigation and Image Navigation.

Exporting and importing images, zone control and user defined preferences will be discussed and practiced. Printing images, image resolution and magnification will be discussed. Some selected advanced features of the SmartSEM software and will also be introduced such as the tool bar editor, hot keys, macro writing and editing as well as image processing.

Day 2


Day two will begin with a review of the material presented on the first day giving users a chance to pose specific questions. This will be followed by a hands-on session. The user is encouraged to run the FE-SEM and practice some of what was previously introduced. Resolution and image quality associated with SEM parameter changes and specimen interaction will be reinforced. This session may allow for imaging on customers’ samples.

We will also review Klein Stage eucentric stage functions and calibrations as well as compucentric and horizontal alignment functions both on Klein stages and Cartesian stages. (Cartesian stage functions may be covered on EVO series SEM)

These additional topics can and will be inserted at any time

  • Charge Compensation imaging on ULTRA PLUS & MERLIN series instruments
  • Variable pressure imaging using backscatter and variable pressure VPSE detectors (This section may be covered using EVO series variable pressure instruments)
  • Multi-Mode STEM imaging of nano particles and fibers and stained ultra-sections
  • Advanced macro writing and automation of the FE-SEM
  • Large Area Microscopy:
    • Montaging using SmartStitch and Stage Pattern Scan software
    • XFOV (Extreme Field of View Imaging) and multisite mosaics using ATLAS™ SEM Visualization Engine
  • Remote Operation of the FE-SEM using Webex and other desktop sharing applications

During conclusion and wrap-up, we will allocate some time to assembling data from the course such as toolbars, special macros and images.