SEM – Scanning Electron Microscopy

Scanning electron microscopy uses electron beams instead of light to produce the images. As a result, a significantly higher resolution is achieved. The scanning electron microscope images surfaces of samples with a three-dimensional perspective, wherein the large depth of focus is of particular importance. Electrons emitted from an electron source are condensed into a fine beam. This beam moves in a well-defined grid over the sample surface. The electrons emitted by the interaction with the primary beam from the sample surface are captured by detectors and converted into an image: the secondary electron (SE) imaging enables the representation of the topography of the sample surface; the backscattered electron (BSE) image also provides information about the different composition of the sample surface (in BSE mode: bright spots – heavier elements, dark spots – lighter elements).



  • Surface topography and surface texture:
    • surface roughness
    • different element composition
    • fracture surface characterization
    • particle size determination of powders
  • Structural examinations:
    • particle size distribution
    • phase analysis
    • identification of precipitated phases
  • Layer thickness determination, layer structure analysis:
  • element analysis (EDX)
  • crystallography, orientation, texture (EBSD)




  • Acceleration voltage: 0.1 – 30 kV
  • Resolution: point to point resolution approx. 1 nm; due to FEG also excellent resolution at low acceleration voltages
  • Maximum gas pressure in sample chamber: 1.3 mbar
  • (Semi) -quantitative element analysis (EDX) for elements with atomic numbers ≥ boron (EDAX-TEAM OCTANE PLUS version 4.3 system)
  • Analysis of the orientation using EBSD (resolution 100 nm)


Sample requirements:


  • Sample size: max. 10 x 10 cm
  • Maximum sample height (for elemental analysis): 2 cm
  • Sample condition: solid, powdery


Possible samples:


  • Conductive surfaces: e.g. metals
  • Non-conductive surfaces: plastics, ceramics, paper, etc., …
Topographie und Struktur
Topographie und Struktur

Topography and structure


Cross-section analysis and microstructure

Querschnittsanalyse und Gefüge
Querschnittsanalyse und Gefüge

EBSD analysis