This course provides an introduction to the theory and basic skills of using the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) instruments.

    Who can enrol

    Researchers, PhD, master's and honours students in the physical, earth, biological and biomedical sciences intending to use the scanning electron microscopy facilities at CMCA.

    You must complete this course before enrolling in the EDS X-ray microanalysis course.

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    Course outline

    Signals and image generation, instrument operation, operating variables, image interpretation and applications of SEM will be introduced through lectures on two mornings.

    You will receive two training sessions on the microscope plus online practicals to enhance your knowledge. Where possible, training will be conducted in pairs.

    You will learn basic SEM operation skills including:

    • SEM alignment and operation
    • signals (secondary and backscattered electrons) and how to interpret them
    • operating variables and how they affect your data
    • acquiring and interpreting images
    • basic sample requirements for SEM (but not specific sample preparation methods).

    Not included in this course are advanced SEM topics such as imaging non-conductive or hydrated samples (variable pressure/environmental SEM), cryo-SEM and elemental analysis (via X-ray microanalysis), as well as detailed information on sample preparation techniques.

    Contact hours

    • Lectures: three hours
    • Laboratories: six hours
    • Laboratory times: will be advised before the course.

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    Course materials

    Lecture notes and supporting documentation are provided as a downloadable file one week before the start of the course. Attendees are expected to be familiar with basic principles and applications of SEM before attending. Many SEM-related books can be found in the UWA library.

    We recommend:

    • Advanced scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis, Newbury
    • Scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis : a text for biologists, materials scientists, and geologists, Goldstein
    • Scanning electron microscopy: Physics of Image Formation and Microanalysis, Reimer.

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    Practical assessment will take place during the training labs on the instruments.

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    • New users must complete an application to access the facilities. They will be enrolled in the course at their new user meeting.
    • Existing users should contact the relevant Technique Group Leader. You will be offered a place if you can demonstrate a need for this training.

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