SEM Imaging and Glovebox Compatibility

Certain materials often require an inert environment for analysis to ensure that there is no sample degradation due to reaction with air. Maintaining these sensitive samples in an argon or nitrogen environment can often be a challenging task involving complicated set-ups including multiple antechambers, load-locks and purge cycles. Space and electrical limitations can often make it impossible to move valuable characterization equipment into these environments. Because of its portability and size of The Phenom Desktop SEM makes glove box compatibility and imaging in an inert environment possible.

The Phenom Desktop SEM is already used to image hazardous substances such as radioactive or infections materials. Recently, the Phenom Desktop SEM was utilized in a glove box to image lithium nanorods used in battery production. Since lithium is unstable in environments containing either oxygen or nitrogen, an argon atmosphere is necessary to prevent degradation. The images below, courtesy of Alpha-en Corp, demonstrate the power of The Phenom Desktop SEM as well as the flexibility that this instrument has in inert environments.

Phenom SEM images of lithium nanorods, used in battery production, acquired in an argon atmosphere.


The unique features of The Phenom Desktop SEM usher in versatility and enable imaging that researchers have otherwise been unable to capture before now.

  • The Phenoms small form factor enables the entire instrument to be placed in a glove box.
  • The integrated motorized staging allows the end user to fully operate the instrument outside the glove box after loading a sample.
  • The next generation CeB6 source enables clean, stable operation over thousands of use hours; significantly reducing downtime for the glovebox itself.
  • The Phenom is capable of achieving accelerating voltages up to 15 kV in an argon environment without problematic discharges.

Images courtesy of Alpha-En Corp.