Hitachi High Technologies Launch S-3400N Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscope

Hitachi High-Technologies has announced the launch of the S-3400N variable pressure scanning electron microscope. With new electron optics, detector, pumping system and enhanced sample handling and analysis capabilities, this new instrument allows better quality images to be produced from even the most difficult specimens quickly and more easily.

A major innovation in the S-3400N is the electron optical system which features a new gun bias arrangement and fully automatic beam alignment. The new quadrant bias system delivers greater beam current, particularly at low accelerating voltages. This in turn leads to better resolution at low accelerating voltages (10 nm at 3 kV). The auto beam alignment system ensures that the beam is perfectly aligned and even includes automatic aperture alignment. Perfect alignment gives the sharpest images under all operating conditions.

The S-3400N features a turbomolecular pumping system, which brings a number of benefits. With no cooling water required, the instrument is both energy efficient and aids the environment by avoiding water wastage. Equally importantly, the turbomolecular pump produces a cleaner vacuum and brings fast pump-down time and a 90 second specimen exchange, ensuring fast sample throughput. The variable pressure range is 6-270 Pa, allowing oily, wet or non-conducting samples to be imaged.

Improved elemental analysis is capable with the new chamber design, which allows simultaneous mounting of an energy dispersive (EDX) detector and a full wavelength dispersive (WDX) system with an X-ray take-off angle of 35 degrees at a specimen analysis working distance of 10 mm. The shorter analytical working distance ensures higher resolution imaging at the analysis position.

Enhanced scanning facilities have increased the lowest magnification field of view at the analytical position by 1.5 times compared to previous instruments, making it even easier to locate features of interest.

The S-3400N is available in two sample handling configurations, both accommodating samples up to 200 mm diameter. The Type I instrument has a manual specimen stage and will handle specimen up to 23 mm thickness at the analytical working distance, while the Type II instrument features full motorisation of all 5 axes of the specimen stage with increased sample movements and the ability to accept specimens up to 80 mm thickness at the analytical position.

A new semiconductor backscattered electron detector with high sensitivity and fast response rates has been incorporated into the instrument. This gives exceptional performance at low kV. The detector also works at fast scan rates, making it easier to find the required field of view. With five, independently selectable sections, the detector can be switched to give atomic number contrast, topographic or 3-D images.

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