What is Scanning Electron Microscopy?

Obtain high-resolution images, critical morphology, and surface topography of materials with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Microscopy service is an indispensable technique essential for investigating microstructure, morphology, particle size, coating coverage, and defects. Utilizing other analytical techniques such as Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (also known as EDS/EDX/EDAX) the elemental composition and distribution of those elements within that sample are determined.

Why use our SEM Services?

We are the experts in analyzing many different kinds of samples. When compared to traditional light microscopes SEM offers far greater magnification and higher depths of field, yielding extraordinarily detailed high-resolution images of the surface of a sample and near-surface regions. One of the most widely used analytical methods, SEM uses high energy electrons to produce detailed surface topography images. Coupled to an auxiliary Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS/EDX/EDAX) detector, SEM also offers elemental identification of nearly the entire periodic table.

Nanoscience Analytical provides a wide range of SEM imaging services depending on your needs. We leverage our state of the art instrumentation and diverse in-house expertise to provide the service you need. Applications include failure analysis, dimensional analysis, process characterization, reverse engineering, and particle identification.

Optical Microscope image of fibersSEM Image of fibers

Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy

Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (also known as EDS/EDX or EDAX) allows us to determine the elemental makeup of the sample being imaged. Our scientists leverage their in-depth knowledge across diverse applications to assist you in identifying and resolving product quality issues.

  • Detect elements from Boron to Americium
  • Provide point analysis on areas of interest
  • Provide line analysis across regions of interest
  • Provide entire elemental maps (up to 10 elements)
  • Overlay EDS data with image data (EDS mapping)

Backscattered Electron Imaging and Secondary Electron Detection

Utilizing both backscattered electron imaging (BSE) and secondary electron detection (SED) we are able to provide you with topographical details of your sample.

  • BSE for images containing compositional information of the sample
  • Imaging of non-conductive samples without gold coating or any other sample prep (BSE only)
  • SE imaging for imaging with high surface sensitivity and best resolution
  • 3D reconstruction: examine your surface in 3D, extract surface profiles, and calculate roughness

Coating Coverage Analysis

With the analysis for coating coverage (utilizing backscattered electron imagining), we can provide coverage analysis. By identifying and differentiating the voids in the coating material we can identify structures that are unique from the background. We provide histograms, scatter plots and coating coverage and spatially resolved elemental composition using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS).

Fiber Analysis and Characterization

We can help you accelerate your quality control and assurance analysis in the manufacturing of fibers used in multiple industries. Our SEM images provide high-quality detail, we combine this with software that measures the surface porosity and fiber density resulting in quantitative fiber size (fiber diameter), fiber orientation, fiber distribution and porosity statistics in orders of magnitude less time than manually counting.

  • 100nm – 40 µm diameter range
  • Customized fiber and pore distribution histograms
  • Minimum, maximum, and average diameter statistics
  • Standard deviation
  • Fiber orientation

We can provide fast results on many samples, with 1000s of fiber measurements per day.

Particle Analysis and Elemental Analysis

Specialized analysis for particle size distribution and elemental identification, our capabilities will help you identify and quantify the material in your sample. Combining backscatter contrast we can identify and differentiate material structures that are unique from the background. We provide histograms, scatter plots and generated images in a selected format to best report the data most relevant to you. Histograms of any measured particle property are generated by numerical value and volume. Scatter plots can be plotted from any combination of particle properties to reveal correlations and trends.

Our particle analysis combined with SEM imaging data provides the details of the elemental composition of particles both foreign and known in your sample. Measurements can include:

  • Diameter
  • Circularity
  • Aspect ratio
  • Major axis
  • Minor axis
  • Circumference
  • Pore size distribution
  • Convenient plotting and reporting
  • Programs customized to each sample type

Questions about our SEM services?

Contact us for additional imaging and elemental analysis capabilities.

We provide expert guidance for your analytical needs.