Scanning electron microscopy#

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)


  • organic and inorganic materials, composites, semi-conductors, powders or bulk samples, thin layer structures
  • sample requirements: solid and non-volatile samples, max. sample size (approximately): up to 10 cm Ø, height 5 cm, weight 0.5 Kg
  • required amount of sample: few milligrams



  • high resolution microscopy with a lateral resolution smaller than 10 nm (e.g. hard magnetic materials, semi-conductors)
  • morphology investigation of fracture surface, cross-sections and surfaces
  • determination of elemental composition from nano- to macroscopic structures
  • phase identification and quantification (point-, line- and mapping analysis)
  • computerized image capture  (up to 6144*4608 pixels) and analysis – determination of particle sizes and layer thicknesses from cross section
  • study of non-conducting samples by using charge compensator

Technical equipment:

Merlin (Fa. Carl Zeiss) with Gemini-2 electron optics

  • high resolution detectors for topography (SE, InLens) and phase contrast (AsB, EsB)
  • magnification: 20 – 2.000.000-times
  • continuously tunable beam current from 20 pA – 40 nA
  • load lock for transfer vessel: transfer of Ar-ion-etched samples without oxygen contamination, cryo-option
  • chemical analysis: energy dispersive (EDX, Fa. Oxford X-Max 80) and wavelength dispersive (WDX, Fa. Oxford INCA WAVE 500) X-ray spectroscopy
  • charge compensator reduces artefacts from charging effects of low electrical conducting materials (no electrical conducting layer is necessary)
  • plasma cleaner to clean sample surface