Scanning Electron Microscopes

SE image from Axia ChemiSEM

Nanoscience Instruments offers a wide range of scanning electron microscopes to cover all needs, from basic imaging and EDS to automated SEMs and advanced applications.

Types of Scanning Electron Microscopes

Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) are a powerful set of tools. Compared to optical microscopes, SEMs create images with much higher magnification and depth of field. They use an electron source and electromagnetic lenses to create a focused beam of electrons, which then scans across a sample. Multiple detectors are arrayed around the sample to collect the signals that are produced by the beam-sample interaction.

There is a huge variety of SEMs available today, and users must choose the right one for their lab and their application. SEMs can be divided into a few general categories based on their capabilities and their form factor.

Full-Size SEMs

A traditional SEM, sometimes referred to as a full-size SEM or floor-model SEM, provides the maximum capabilities and flexibility for a wide variety of experiments. These instruments vary widely in price and performance. Entry-level instruments are usually powered by a tungsten emitter, which can provide good quality images at medium magnification, as well as high quality elemental analysis. More powerful systems may include additional detectors or different sources. Field emission-powered FE-SEMs are the top choice for ultra-high-resolution imaging.

The AxiaTM ChemiSEMTM is a full-sized, cost-effective instrument that comes standard with three detectors: BSE, SE, and the special EDS system integrated with ChemiSEM technology. Low vacuum operation is an optional extra that includes a gaseous SE detector.

Desktop SEMs

Desktop SEMs are one of the most recent revolutions in electron microscopy. These small-size SEMs can easily fit into any lab. They prioritize ease of use while still maintaining plenty of power for standard SEM/EDS analysis and are great for multi-user labs where not everyone is an SEM expert.

PhenomTM desktop SEMs are the most popular instruments in this category. They provide excellent quality images and fast elemental analysis for novice and expert SEM users alike. The great majority of all SEM work can be accomplished with a Phenom system.

For ultra-high-magnification work, there is the field emission gun (FEG) powered Phenom Pharos Desktop FE-SEM.

Automated SEMs

Some standardized analyses can be automated with special SEMs that automatically scan the sample, analyze the data, and create a report. This is common for particle analysis or quality control applications where statistically significant data is paramount.

Automated SEMs feature powerful software that can control many aspects of the system’s operation, including stage movements, beam control, image acquisition, and EDS analysis. All of these processes are run according to recipes that can be edited to suit any application.

The Phenom-based ParticleXTM automated SEM is a versatile in-house solution for high-quality automated analysis. It can automatically detect, size, and identify tens of thousands of particles or features per hour.

Additional Resources


Request More Info

Nanoscience Instruments is a trusted supplier of Thermo ScientificTM SEMs in the U.S. Our dedicated sales, applications, and service staff have over 200 years of combined experience in SEM.