The Verios XHR SEM was installed in May 2014 and is the first instrument of its kind in Australia.

It is the second generation of FEI's Extreme High Resolution SEM family, offering sub-nanometre resolution over the full 1 kV to 30 kV operating voltage range with excellent materials contrast and extraordinary low-voltage performance for extremely precise, surface-specific analysis.

The microscope is equipped with an array of in-lens, in-column, and chamber detectors, bright field, dark field and high angle annular dark field STEM detectors, and 80 mm2 Oxford Instruments X-Max SDD EDX detector for microanalysis. Using FEI's MAPS imaging software, automatic acquisition of large images and correlative workflows, for example combining optical microscopy and SEM, are made possible.

This facility was funded through the Australian Research Council (LIEF grant LE130100011), with support from UWA, Murdoch, ECU and the WA Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority.


  • Secondary electron (SE) imaging
  • Backscattered electron (BSE) imaging
  • Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), including bright field (BF), dark field (DF) and high angle annular dark field (HAADF) modes
  • Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) – point mode and mapping (using the AZtec software)
  • Automatic acquisition of large images (using the MAPS software)
  • Correlative microscopy (using the MAPS software)

Instrument specifications

  • Elstar XHR immersion lens column
  • Accelerating voltage range: 300 V to30 kV
  • Beam deceleration with stage bias from -50 V to -4 kV
  • Probe current range: 0.8 pA to 100 nA
  • Landing energy range 20 eV to 30 keV
  • 0.6 nm resolution at 30 kV
  • 0.7 nm resolution at 1 kV
  • Elstar in-lens SE and BSE detectors
  • Elstar in-column BSE detector
  • Everhart-Thornley SE detector
  • Retractable low voltage, high contrast solid-state backscatter electron detector
  • Retractable STEM detector with BF/DF/HAADF segments
  • Oxford Instruments 80 mm2 X-Max SDD EDX detector optimized for detection from Be to Cf
  • Integrated plasma cleaner
  • Sample stages for standard stubs, slides, one-inch mounts, TEM grids and others
  • Maximum sample size: 100 mm diameter
  • Maximum sample thickness: 27.8 mm incl. sample holder
  • Stage tilt range -100 to +600

Further Information


  • Crawley Campus, Physics, Room G.84