Electron microscopy allows for higher magnifications of a sample by using a beam of electrons to create an image, meaning much smaller objects can be examined in finer detail to reveal their microstructures.
A typical scanning electron microscope (SEM) uses a single beam to gather data from a material, using electrons to image and x-rays to analyse the sample. The focused ion beam-scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM) adds a second beam, the ion-beam, to cut into the material while the SEM carries out high-resolution imaging. This method can build a 3D stack of data representing your sample layer-by-layer at the nano-metre scale.
For comparison: A human hair is typically around 80 microns (or 80,000 nano metres) wide. Using our FIB-SEM, you can view your products at less than a 10,000th of a human hair.
This detailed analysis offers a greater understanding of how materials interact with each other. Both FIB and SEM can be used independently, but combining them into a single system opens up a wider range of options that are otherwise not possible.
New features that the FIB-SEM brings to Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre include:
- 3D cross-sectional chemical analysis (EDS/EDX).
- 3D cross-sectional electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD).
- Lamella (thin section) preparation for TEM and TkD.
- Nano-fabrication and nano-patterning.
- Low voltage STEM (Scanning transmission electron microscopy).