Social Distancing in the Lab—How Tabletop SEMs Can Help

Social Distancing in the Lab—How Tabletop SEMs Can Help

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects, impacting every industry to some degree. Research in university laboratories, for instance, has faltered due to the difficulties associated with the reality of social distancing. It can be difficult to maintain a safe distance between researchers sharing large instruments like full-scale scanning electron microscopes (SEMs). The use of tabletop SEMs is an optimal solution to the issues of social distancing in the lab.

What are Tabletop SEMs?

A tabletop SEM can be employed for imaging and microscopic analysis of man-made, biological and inorganic materials. Tabletop SEMs are significantly more compact than traditional SEMs and can be used when portability is required for sample imaging. SEMs are one of the most important instruments employed in the characterization of solid metals and have extremely strong magnifying ranges. However, traditional models are very large, expensive and require high voltage supply. Tabletop SEMs are smaller, more portable, and cheaper. Space has always been at a premium in research labs, but its value has been put into sharp focus over the last year.

Benefits of Tabletop SEMs for Social Distancing

Tabletop SEMs have a minimal space requirement but still provide high quality images of samples, comparable to conventional devices. Tabletop SEMs are able to provide analysis for a variety of samples such as forensic science, pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, and life sciences.

Traditional electron microscopy devices in laboratories rely upon a core facility which is usually in a restricted access lab and is expensive to own and maintain. Typically, users would schedule blocks of time for the instruments however due to health and safety measures related to COVID-19, devices would need to be fully sterilized between users which creates a backlog.

The use of tabletop SEMs would be a solution to this issue. Multiple, lower cost solutions could be placed in the laboratories, meaning contact with other lab users would be limited and social distancing could be maintained easily.

Tabletop SEMs are also very easy to use, meaning that necessary training is limited and could be done without contact being needed. Installation and maintenance are also straightforward, further reducing the need to have face to face contact.

Tabletop SEMs are not just for entry-level, inexperienced users. These affordable systems can satisfy the majority of microscopy needs. The Cube II tabletop SEM from EOI is the smallest conventional SEM on the market today. It has been miniaturized to minimize the installation area needed. With a resolution of 5nm and magnification of up to 300,000x it will compete with any SEM on the market.

It is more important than ever for laboratories and the equipment they use to be adaptable. Tabletop SEMs from EOI are compact and easy to use without compromising on imaging capabilities. Contact us today to find out more.