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What are the advantages of SEM?

What is a SEM?

A scanning electron microscope (SEM) is a device for observing the surface of samples on a nanometric scale. It uses a beam of electrons to scan the surface and produce three-dimensional images.

The advantages of SEM

The SEM has a number of advantages over other observation techniques, such as the optical microscope or the transmission electron microscope. Here are just a few of the advantages:

– SEM offers very high spatial resolution, in the nanometre range, which means that very fine details can be seen on the surface of samples.

– SEM enables the topography, morphology, texture and structure of samples to be visualised, thanks to its depth of field and phase contrast.

– SEM can be used to analyse the chemical and elemental composition of samples, thanks to the emission of X-rays or secondary electrons by the atoms excited by the primary beam.

– The SEM can be used to carry out in situ or in operando experiments, i.e. to modify the environmental conditions (temperature, pressure, humidity, electric or magnetic field) or to stress the samples (traction, compression, shearing) while observing their behaviour.

The SEM is therefore an indispensable tool for researchers, engineers and technicians working in fields such as biology, chemistry, physics, materials and medicine.

But like any complex piece of equipment, the SEM requires regular maintenance to ensure that it operates smoothly and reliably.

In this article, we give you some advice on how to look after your SEM and prolong its life.

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