Benchtop Scanning Electron Microscopy
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in 2018. See the new JEOL benchtop SEM — the JCM-7000.
Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) produce high resolution, high magnification images by scanning the surface of a specimen with a focused beam of electrons. Developed in the 1930s, these exciting microscopes have changed significantly over the years in size and capability. Earlier SEMs typically required special rooms with dampening equipment to alleviate magnetic fields, vibrations, temperature variations, etc. Some modern-day SEMs require special laboratory designs in order to achieve high-performance electron microscopy.
Benchtop SEMs were developed over 10 years ago and have come a long way since they were introduced. With capabilities including magnifications up to 60,000X, multiple accelerating voltages, and both secondary and back-scattered electron (BSE) detectors, these smaller versions of full-size SEMs are finding their way into more and more industrial and educational laboratories. They require less space, no special lab design, and the operator can be trained in less than 30 minutes. They serve as great teaching tools and can be easily transported via a mobile cart.
At The McCrone Group, we offer the JEOL JCM-6000Plus to our clients, and use this instrument in Hooke College of Applied Sciences’—a member of The McCrone Group—SEM course. The JCM-6000Plus benchtop SEM offers an Everhart Thornley type SE detector as well as a high sensitivity solid-state BSE detector, including the proprietary JEOL Shadow Mode. Full-featured energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) with silicone drift detector technology is also available for advanced analytical applications.
Whether used by trained electron microscopists as a simple screening instrument, or by lab technicians as a higher resolution alternative to the light microscope, the JCM-6000Plus accelerates the pace of research in the life sciences, forensics, and pharmaceutical fields.