Understanding Sample Preparation

Image Credit: Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World BV

The majority of specimens do not require any preparation and can be placed into the chamber directly. If a sample includes components that are known to be volatile like water, this component should be removed before.

If it is not removed, the water would evaporate very quickly in the evacuated environment. This would alter the specimen’s appearance or may even harm it. This is why the sample requires a drying process, frequently called fixation, which must be used to exchange the liquid by a polymer.

The specimen can then be imaged under vacuum if prepared using this method. Non-conducting specimens gather charge under electron bombardment, but a charged object cannot be scanned by an electron beam.

On this account, samples must be coated with a conducting layer before SEM analysis. Platinum offers a fine-grained coating and can be applied to utilize a device called a sputter coater with ease.

Using this method, non conducting samples can similarly be imaged with SEM and high-quality images of the surface can be captured, particularly through the SE-detector.

Who can Profit From Scanning Electron Microscopes?

SEM technology, in general, can offer exclusive advantages for research in a range of industries and markets.

Image Credit: Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World BV

Materials Science

Materials science, being an interdisciplinary field, concentrates on the varied characteristics of matter and their possible applications in the sciences along with engineering. For these industries, a stringent evaluation of the material is critical.

By doing so, material scientists and engineers can produce unique materials with desired characteristics.

A scanning electron microscope can assist them in observing and evaluating material interfaces and surfaces, either for quality assurance standards during production or for the evaluation of compounds post-processing. In brief, the possibilities are practically endless.

Image Credit: Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World BV

Life Sciences

Life scientists, along with other professions focusing on the fields of medical science and biotechnology, utilize a host of different microscopes to investigate blood, cosmetics, microbiology, food, or cells.

SEM is essentially irreplaceable in the daily work of such scientists because it combines a high sample throughput with high-resolution imaging.

The latest pioneering SEM methods have additionally opened up an entirely new host of opportunities to image biological samples with unparalleled precision.

Image Credit: Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World BV

Earth Sciences

SEMs can assist geophysicists and geologists in analyzing the micro, macro, and nanostructure of the earth. Comprehending the texture and composition of materials is a key element of investigating the earth and its physical constitution.

Image Credit: Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World BV

Industrial Manufacturing

It is the task of industrial manufacturers to meet extremely high customer expectations. Scientists and engineers must understand every aspect of their products. SEM allows them to collect microscopic elements of the entire product.

Having easy access to high-resolution imaging and investigations can, for example, assist them in making their products longer-lasting, stronger, safer, and in some cases, more compact.

Image Credit: Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World BV


Innovation is a key aspect of electronics. To meet quickly-changing consumer demands and to stay ahead of competitors, electronic manufacturers have to create smaller-than-ever features.

Finding the correct balance between time-to-market and performance can be complex. Scanning electron microscopes can help the research and quality control departments of manufacturers, enhance efficiency, and promote innovation.

Image Credit: Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World BV


Evidence is an integral element in the investigation of crime. Microscopic hints can be captured from materials such as glass, textiles, fabrics, metals, or particles.

In this field, an SEM can be of significant value for forensic investigators. For example, they can be utilized to discern indents and scratches on objects or residue particles from gunshots.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World BV.

For more information on this source, please visit Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World BV.


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