Two employees of ZEISS SMT work on the MultiSEM of the Product Control Solutions division

Speed revolution

The world’s fastest scanning electron microscope

Unimaginably precise and fast

PCS employee works on MultiSEM technology

Unimaginably precise

In one cubic millimeter of the human brain there are tens of thousands of neurons and millions of synapses. Researchers from Harvard have succeeded in imaging these structures thanks to the ZEISS MultiSEM: through 225 million composite individual images with a data volume of 1400 terabytes (J. W. Lichtman, Harvard University). Converted, that's about 500 billion pages of text. An unimaginable amount of information – for a tiny fraction of the brain.

View of an electron microscope from ZEISS SMT

Unimaginably fast

The way of visualizing the human brain is not far from the representation of structures of microchip production. It is conceivable and possible thanks to the multi-beam scanning electron microscope from ZEISS – MultiSEM for short. One of the most powerful electron microscopes – with the world's fastest data acquisition for previously unthinkable research results in biology, materials science and semiconductors. For the fastest extraction of the largest amounts of data. For the next technological breakthrough.

Unique in the world

  • 91

    Parallel electron beams simultaneously

  • 1.500

    Gigabyte per hour data rate

  • 24/7

    Designed for reliable continuous operation – around the clock

  • > 1 bn.

    Pixels in under 1 second acquisition time (per image field and scan)

  • 3,5 nm

    Scanning in the nanometer range

High-end technology for the semiconductor industry

Whether brain research or microchip production: The ZEISS MultiSEM enables unique insights and analyses.

PCS employee works on MultiSEM technology

Working in the nanometer range

In industrial laboratories, it's all about precision and speed. Thanks to innovative multi-beam imaging, the MultiSEM works incredibly fast and with high resolution in the nanometer range. It is therefore used to study microchips with structure sizes in the nanometer range.

Product Highlights

MultiSEM 505/506 from ZEISS

Two PCS-MultiSEM employees look at the latest technology on one screen

Multi-beam imaging

At the heart of the MultiSEM is multi-beam imaging:  91 parallel electron beams visualize complex 2D structures simultaneously and fully automatically at an incomparably high imaging speed. For an area of one square centimeter, the MultiSEM 506 from ZEISS requires around six hours with a pixel size of 3.5 nanometers. This corresponds to a data rate of about 1.5 terabytes per hour.

Two PCS-MultiSEM employees look at the latest technology on one screen

High contrast, low noise and rich in detail

The result is high-contrast images with very low noise thanks to highly efficient detection of secondary electrons. Automated imaging protocols make large-scale, detailed imaging with high nanometer resolution possible. Tiny details become accessible in a macroscopic context.

ZEISS MultiSEM in use

  • View on graphical processor

    Graphical processor

    Multi-beam image acquired with the MultiSEM 506 with 4 nm pixel size covering a hexagonal field of view of 165 μm x 143 μm.

  • View of 20 nm gold/palladium particles

    20 nm gold/palladium particles

    Multi-beam image acquired with the MultiSEM 506 with 4 nm pixel size covering a hexagonal field of view of 165 μm x 143 μm.


  • View of silicon test sample

    Silicon test sample

    Multi-beam image acquired with the MultiSEM 505 with 4 nm pixel size covering a hexagonal field of view of 108 μm x 94 μm.

  • View of semiconductor wafer

    Semiconductor wafer

    Single beam image of a wafer with 3.8 nm pixel size.

  • View of EUV mask

    EUV mask

    Single beam image of an EUV mask with 3.8 nm pixel size.

ZEN Imaging Software

View of MultiSEM Software

Intuitive and user-friendly

Added to this is ZEN (ZEISS Efficient Navigation), an intuitive and user-friendly software from ZEISS that can be used to control the MultiSEM. Highly automated software routines ensure easy operation of the user interface, with routine experiments organized in the clear and intelligent data management system. Together with the powerful parallelized image acquisition pipeline, this saves many hours of manual work.

Other potential applications

Employee with the new product control solutions

Reverse engineering of computer chips

Qualification and testing in a short time

Qualify trusted suppliers or detect threats from built-in backdoors: The ZEISS MultiSEM's large-area imaging with nanometer-scale resolution ensures faster data extraction from the exposed inner workings of modern microelectronics. ZEISS SMT can thus make a decisive contribution to the development of so-called "trusted chips" and to improving cyber security.

How the MultiSEM works

Parallel. Fast. Powerful.

ZEISS MultiSEM achieves its high imaging speed through the parallel use of multiple electron beams and the detectors assigned to each. All beams scan the sample surface synchronously. The hexagonally arranged partial images generated in this process are then combined to form the overall image field. The high imaging speed and a parallel server architecture ensure fast data recording. Image acquisition and microscope control are perfectly matched in the MultiSEM system to ensure full performance at all times.

ZEISS MultiSEM 505 and 506

Electron beam MultiSEM SMT ZEISS

With 61 or 91 beams

ZEISS MultiSEM 505 operates with 61 parallel beams and a data rate of up to one terabyte per hour.  91 electron beams are used in the ZEISS MultiSEM 506, resulting in an even higher data throughput. A larger area is scanned per scan pass. The more powerful version generates up to 1.5 terabytes of data per hour.



Anything is imaginable – a lot is possible

ZEISS empowers manufacturers worldwide with lithography optics and process control systems for semiconductor manufacturing. With increasing complexity, new materials and the miniaturization of semiconductor structures, the demands on metrology and process control systems are also rising.

MultiSEM performs fast and high-resolution 2D image acquisition with 91 parallel electron beams. This enables reverse engineering, process control and troubleshooting in the finest semiconductor structures. For further information please contact our experts.