Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering

Scanning Electron Microscopy - SEM

SEM/EDX and Raman

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Overview

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) enables imaging of a surface using an electron beam.

By using a variety of detectors topographic images, atomic number (Z) contrast images and elemental composition information can be obtained from the specimens.

We have fixed rates of charge which are reviewed annually. Typically, around £130 per hour for SEM + EDX analysis. Costs will vary depending on type of sample and requirements. Please contact us if you need an estimate.

Whilst all reasonable effort is taken to ensure the accuracy of the data we provide using calibration standards, databases and the experience of its qualified staff, the laboratories are not independently certified and the University does not accept any responsibility for how clients use the data provided.

Our capabilities:

Digital Imaging:

  • Over a range of magnifications depending on sample quality (~ X35 to X100 000), in the following modes
  • Secondary electron emission (SEI) - ideal for materials with surface relief and/or multiple faces
  • Backscattered electron (BSE) - for atomic number contract

Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS or EDX):

  • Thin-window EDX detectors allow the identification and semi-quantification of elements from carbon atomic number upwards. This is a non-destructive technique.
  • Output is in the form of spot data, line scan, average area measurement or element digi-mapping (using X-ray intensity distribution)

Low Vacuum (LV):

  • Mode for sensitive samples, e.g. biological or polymer samples, or those not appropriate for carbon or gold coating (typically used to improve conductivity)

Sample Preparation:

  • Non conductive materials can be sputtered coated with carbon if imaging and EDX is required, or with gold if high resolution imaging is needed
  • Advice on sample requirements and preparation is available on request

Sample Handling:

  • MSDS and COSSH forms must be supplied with the samples where appropriate
  • Samples should be clearly labelled and to limit contamination they should be stored in clean glass or plastic containers. Clients should avoid touching the samples as much as possible
  • Clients should either collect their samples at the end of the work, or a charge will be applied for their disposal

If you have questions about the SAgE Analytical Facility or would like to request a quote, contact us.

Services

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) enables analysis of the surface of a sample using an electron beam. The electron beam interacts with the surface of the sample and a number of signals are emitted from the sample. By using a variety of detectors located in the main chamber of the microscope these signals can be captured and topographic images, atomic-number (Z) contrast images and elemental composition information can be obtained from the specimen.

Our equipment includes a Jeol JSM-5610LV that contains:

  • Tungsten filament Scanning Electron Microscope with Low Vacuum mode
  • Secondary and Backscattered electron detectors
  • Oxford Instruments ‘Aztec’ EDX system with ‘X-act’ thin-window detector with 129 eV resolution at 5.9keV

Sample Preparation:

  • Carbon Coating and Gold Sputter Coating is available for low conductivity samples
  • Some sample sectioning and polishing support can be arranged by agreement

Raman Spectroscopy:

  • Horiba Raman Laser Spectrometer with an internal 632 nm He-Ne laser of 20mW fixed power and an external 514nm Ar laser with variable power (2-60mW) and, ‘Syncerity’ detector
  • Spectral data library ‘KnowItAll HORIBA Edition’ allows comparison with over 1,750 known materials

Our electron microscope services offers the following analytical capabilities:

 

Applications

SAgE Analytical has a wealth of experimental knowledge and capabilities in all of our techniques. Please browse our applications below which intend to focus on typical areas of interest and bespoke experimental needs.

If you have questions about the SAgE Analytical Facility or would like to request a quote, contact us.

Staff

Dr Alasdair Charles, CChem, FRMS, FICorr
Academic Lead for Electron Microscopy

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Contact us

If you have questions about the SAgE Analytical Facility or would like to request a quote, contact us.