Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) uses electrons rather than light to form an image.

Capabilities and facilities offered for scanning electron microscopy are listed below.

  1. High-resolution low-voltage secondary electron (SE) imaging
  2. Backscattered electron (BSE) imaging
  3. Cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging
  4. Variable-pressure imaging of uncoated complex biostructures
  5. X-ray microanalysis
  6. Charge-contrast imaging (CCI)
  7. Low temperature (CryoSEM)

High-resolution low-voltage secondary electron (SE) imaging

Fine surface detail and morphological information is enhanced at very low electron beam energies.

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Backscattered electron (BSE) imaging

Variations in sample chemistry are indicated by tonal variations in the BSE image.

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Cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging

Cathodoluminescence is visible light emission from electron arising from lattice defects or distortion due to trace element incorporation in some materials and minerals. 

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Variable-pressure imaging of uncoated complex biostructures

Variable-pressure mode allows uncoated samples to be imaged it is also very effective where the sample has a complex structure.

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X-ray microanalysis

X-rays generated by sample electron beam interaction can be measured by two different spectrometers. Specific compositions (quantitative) and general chemistries (qualitative) microanalyses can be determined in situ to the micron scale. Element intensity distributions in the form of x-ray maps can also be collected.

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Charge-contrast imaging (CCI)

Under specific conditions of variable pressure and environmental SEM an unusual SE contrast can be imaged. This CCI techniques allows growth and structural information from a range of materials and minerals to be observed. It is a unique technique, first discovered in the Centre.

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Low temperature (CryoSEM)

Samples can be imaged and analysed in the frozen-hydrated state at -150C, without influence from chemical/fixation/drying artefacts. This is especially suitable for liquids and hydrated samples, and biological specimens. Samples are initially prepared using facilities that are part of the cryo-suite. 

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Last updated:
Wednesday, 6 April, 2016 4:33 PM