The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is a key piece of equipment used by our materials scientists. The microscope has the ability to significantly improve the imaging resolution of samples for testing and analysis. Different to a traditional optical microscope, which can provide up to 1600 times magnification, the SEM has the potential to provide up to 200 000 times magnification. This capability allows samples to be viewed in more detail, while still retaining depth of field (the amount of contoured images in focus).
The SEM’s design also allows a chemical analysis to be performed on the same location being viewed, providing valuable data on composition. Although the equipment operates using a very high vacuum, the inclusion of a low vacuum chamber allows the microscope to also test and analyse semi-“wet” samples and non-conductive materials. This expands the number of materials which can be tested to include ceramics, polymers and composites.
For further information on our equipment and the services we provide, contact our Materials Centre today.