SEM for Fiber Applications

Advantages of SEM for Fiber Applications

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has replaced optical techniques for imaging and measuring fiber dimensions for many applications.


Optical microscope image of nanaofibers

Not only does SEM have higher resolution and image contrast for examining features, but the high depth of field allows for statistically significant measurements of fiber diameters and orientation.

SEM image of nanofibers

Scanning electron microscope image of same fibers

With a higher depth of field and greater image contrast, use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM) is becoming the new standard for characterizing fibrous materials.

Benefits of the Phenom SEM

SEM on your desktop for fast automated analysis

Phenom SEM for fast automated fiber analysis

The Phenom scanning electron microscope was designed to bring high quality SEM imaging into environments where a traditional instrument was not suitable. The Phenom SEM does not require a dedicated operator nor additional infrastructure. Additional benefits include:

  • Innovative column design to image fibers without sputter coating
  • Extremely long life source for over a year of continuous up time
  • Patented loading system designed to minimize contamination and be vibration insensitive 

With a fully integrated optical navigation system and user-friendly software, the Phenom SEM quickly delivers excellent images in any environment. The Phenom SEM is accessible and intuitive to use.

The motorized XY stage allows for automated image acquisition, illustrated here with a tiled image using 400 image files. A large area can be reviewed at high resolution for quality control. When combined with FiberMetric software, fiber data is readily available. 


Automated image mapping using 400 tiled SEM images (right) with one image (left) shown separately

FiberMetric for Automated Fiber Analysis

The Phenom desktop SEM uses FiberMetric, proprietary fiber measurement software, which measures fiber diameter, orientation and pore sizes. Using the integrated motorized XY stage, data acquisition and analysis can easily be automated:

  • Fast automated fiber analysis
  • Statistically significant data
  • Operator-independent
  • Exportable

This software/hardware combination allows for hundreds of images to be acquired and analyzed, accumulating in tens of thousands of measurements, providing statistically significant data for fiber characterization.

FiberMetric example

Automated fiber analysis with FiberMetric for Phenom SEM

Elemental Analysis for Fiber Applications

Elements in filtration fibers or contaminants in materials and products can be identified using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS).  An EDS detector is integrated in the Phenom desktop SEM and can show elements at a point, across a line, or mapped in an area. Some examples are illustrated in the fiber quality control section.

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