Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) set the benchmark for non-destructive high resolution imaging. They are the workhorse analytical instruments of an ever-expanding range of applications, providing resolving capabilities that far exceed those of light-based microscopy.
Any prospective buyer of a new SEM system has numerous things to consider, none-the-least of which is cost: Most full-scale SEM products are extremely expensive. In many ways, the initial cost of ownership has been justified by their exclusivity; SEMs are complex instruments that demand a large installation area and expert users for operation. Yet these are all qualities that conspire to make scanning electron microscopy inaccessible for small or budget-conscious research environments.
A new generation of SEM products is driving the increased applicability of electron microscopy.
Tabletop SEMs: Cost-Effective & Convenient
When small-scale SEM products were first introduced, they were not met with enthusiasm. Experts were unimpressed with their comparatively low beam energies and low magnification rates (<10,000x) – despite the fact that most electron microscopy is conducted within that magnification range. No level of convenience would be enough to bridge the gap between large systems and tabletop SEMs while maximum magnifications sat around the 10,000x range.
There has been something of a paradigm shift in the years since, driven by new users recognising the enormous potential of a cost-effective and simple method for resolving samples at the sub-microscale. For many life scientists and materials scientists, magnifying samples up to a nominal maximum of 10,000x still represented an increase in resolution of several orders of magnitude over their existing systems. Simultaneously, tabletop SEM manufacturers have continually strived to address the perceived shortfalls of last generations benchtop systems. The results have been extraordinary.
The New Standard in SEM Products
At Electron Optics Instruments, we have been working for over thirty years to deliver convenient SEM products that deliver on price without ever compromising quality. Our instruments are built on a philosophy of accessibility. We aim to equip users in a wide-range of fields with powerful, easy-to-use imaging systems based on space-saving principles.
This is best exemplified by our Cube II Scanning Electron Microscope; the industry’s smallest SEM ever. This compact system weighs just 70kg despite being equipped with a full 5-axis stage and a pre-centered tungsten filament electron gun capable of delivering acceleration voltages of up to 30kV. Unlike the benchtop systems of the past, our small SEM products can achieve magnifications ranging up to 300,000x with a resolution of 5.0 nanometres at full acceleration.
Want to learn more? Read about Tabletop SEMs from EOI
If you are looking for a new SEM system for your facility and need to learn more about minimum specifications or performance parameters, contact a member of the EOI team today. We will be happy to answer any questions.