The Impact of Advanced SEM on Materials Characterisation

Imaging and Microanalysis at the “Sweet Spot”

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Dr. Sato Kaoru JFE Techno-Research Corporation, Japan

Unlike TEM/STEM, the finest probe condition that is normally achieved at the highest accelerating voltage does not always give the best resolution in the SEM where bulk specimens are normally used. SEM today has excellent performances at low voltages and implementation of multiple imaging detectors is enabling efficient acquisition of high quality SE and BSE images. By optimising the acceptance of signal electrons, material and topographic contrast can be obtained separately with different SE detectors. Optimisation of collection angle will allow preferential extraction of either atomic number or channelling contrast in the BSE imaging. Furthermore, a latest windowless SDD, whose WD is optimised to that for the imaging sweet spot, enables EDX analyses below 10 nm for a bulk specimen.

Key Learnings: 

  • The need to adjust working distance and voltage depending on the material
  • Several examples of the data obtainable from the "sweet spot" of WD and voltage
  • Realization of x-ray analysis at the imaging "sweet spot"

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