Meet the JEOL JCM-7000 NeoScope Benchtop SEM

February 26, 2020

Presenter: Glenn Miller,  Technical Sales Representative, McCrone Microscopes & Accessories

The JCM-7000, released in March of 2019, is JEOL’s fourth-generation benchtop scanning electron microscope. JEOL has continued to make exciting improvements to their benchtop SEM line; this Neoscope is distinctly different. With a magnification up to 100,000X, resolutions down to 8 nm and a larger EDS detector, and new features like live EDS, live X-ray mapping and live 3-D, this instrument can perform a multitude of tasks. If you are a pharmaceutical scientist, QA manager, or research scientist, see how the new features of the JCM-7000 can advance the analysis of the samples that you work with.


Charles Zona (CZ): Okay, I think we’re ready to get started. I’d like to welcome everyone to another McCrone Group webinar. My name is Charles Zona, and today, we’re happy to welcome Glenn Miller from McCrone Microscopes & Accessories. Glenn is going to talk to us today about JEOL’s new benchtop scanning electron microscope. But before we get started, I would like to give you a bit of Glenn’s background.

Glenn joined the McCrone team in 2018 and routinely works with a wide variety of instrumentation, such as SEM, FTIR, optical and polarized light microscopy, thermal microscopy, and sample preparation. Glenn travels across the United States installing polarized light microscopes, Linkam thermal stages, benchtop SEMs, and provides client training on all of these instruments.

Glenn will field questions from the audience immediately following today’s presentation, and this webinar is being recorded and will be available on the McCrone group website under the webinars tab, and now I will hand the program over to Glenn.

Glenn Miller (GM): Thanks, Chuck. Hello, everyone, and thank you for tuning in to today’s webinar. My name is Glenn Miller; I’m a technical sales representative for McCrone Microscopes & Accessories, and today I will be talking to you about JEOL’s newest installment to their benchtop SEM line: the JCM-7000 NeoScope.

The JCM-7000 is the fourth-generation benchtop SEM from JEOL. This system has a very small footprint in comparison to most full-size SEMs that you would see in laboratories. The main unit is only about one foot wide, two feet deep and two feet tall. This benchtop SEM is operated on a Windows 10 computer and the entire system consists of the main JCM-7000 unit, a desktop computer, a power supply, and a roughing pump. All of these items are included in the package with purchase and there is no additional equipment required to operate this system.

The magnification capability of this instrument is 100,000X of real magnification and the resolution is 8 nm.

There are three different accelerating voltages: 5, 10, and 15 kV, and four different probe current settings: high resolution, standard, analysis, and live analysis—and these go from low to high, respectively.

There are also three different vacuum modes: high vacuum, low vacuum, and charge reduction vacuum. High vacuum works great with conductive samples in both secondary and backscatter detection modes, and low vacuum or charge free vacuum are ideal for nonconductive or biological samples in order to reduce charging effects.

The sample chamber allows a maximum sample size of 80 mm in diameter and 50 mm in height.

One of the best things about this instrument is that it’s fully automated. From access alignment, to focus and stigmation, to contrast and brightness—all functions can either be automated or manually controlled.

The JCM-7000 also has abilities for elemental analysis. Per customer request, this system can be purchased with a fully-integrated energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) detector. This detector is a massive 30 mm in diameter, resulting in a very large amount of counts. The detector also has an ultra-thin window, which allows for detection all the way from boron to uranium.

With the EDS system, you can conduct several different types of analyses:

  • Area analysis, where you can draw an analysis box in your field of view
  • Multiple point analysis, where you can pinpoint locations of interest on the specimen
  • Line scans, where you can do several points of analysis in a line
  • Particle analysis, where you can fill in the area of a particular particle

The EDS system also has active spectral mapping. This allows for colors to be assigned to particular elements to give you a great visual analysis of your current field of view.

Probe tracking also helps with any drift during the analysis run, and corrects for it. Also, while conducting these types of analyses, you are provided with mass percentages and atomic percentages of the elements present in the regions that you are analyzing.

As I mentioned before, a great feature to this system is that it’s fully automated which makes it simple to use for a technician of any experience level. When you load your sample into the chamber and close the door, the chamber automatically evacuates and pumps down to the desired vacuum level.

The filament is automatically saturated, and focus, stigmation, and contrast and brightness are automatically adjusted, as well. This leads to a crisp and clear image just minutes after finishing your sample preparation.

With the release of the JCM-7000 brings all new features that we are very excited about. First of all, the stage navigation system. As you close the chamber door, there is a camera that scans your sample, producing a color image on the screen when you are at 0 times magnification. This allows for very simple navigation, and as you zoom in on your sample, it seamlessly transitions from a color image into a grayscale SEM image.

The stage on the JCM-7000 is now fully automated, in comparison to its manual previous models. This allows for continuous simple navigation, remote usage of the system and image stitching for large high-resolution imagery.

There are also all-new live features. As you navigate your sample, there is a constant EDS spectrum on the right-hand side of the screen, providing an elemental analysis of your field of view. You can also conduct live 3-D analysis, as well as live X-ray color mapping.

And now, a quick demonstration showing you Live Analysis and ZeroMag.

So, you can see we have a color image of the sample for navigation purposes. Simply double-click on the screen to move the stage to that region. As you zoom in on your sample, you seamlessly navigate from the color image into your grayscale SEM image.

At the top, we have our auto button—once clicked, this performs an autofocus, auto stigmatization and auto contrast and brightness.

On the right-hand side of the screen you can see we have our constant live EDS spectrum that adjusts as you move your field of view.

The new format for the software interface is designed to be as user-friendly as possible. On the left-hand side, you can see that there is a workflow from the specimen exchange, to sample preparation, to viewing images and analyses that you have taken in Data Management.

On the top of the screen you have Purpose1, which chooses the type of analysis that you wish to conduct from SEM observation for basic imaging, EDS analysis, or x-ray mapping, Purpose2, which has preset parameters for each type of analysis, scan rate, auto adjustment and image capture.

On the right hand side of the screen you have your live EDS spectrum along with advanced functions of manual adjustments to focus stigmation, contrast brightness, basic measurements, image stitching, video recording, and a few others.

At the bottom of the screen you can make adjustments to your acquisition conditions from signal type, magnification, accelerating voltage, probe current, and vacuum mode.

Another great feature of the JCM-7000 is that maintenance of the filament is incredibly simple—similar to changing a light bulb. The system uses a cartridge electron source consisting of the filament and Wehnelt cap, and axis alignment is fully automated—simply vent the chamber, open the hinged lid of the column, remove the old filament, replace with a new cartridge, and you will be imaging again in minutes.

The JCM-7000 comes standard with both secondary and backscatter electron detectors. A great example of both of these detectors is a mixed metal eutectic sample at 15 kV of accelerating voltage. On the left-hand side of the screen, you can see a secondary electron image providing us with a surface analysis of the sample. On the right-hand side of the screen, you can see a backscattered electron image, which provides us with a grayscale visual analysis ranging from the darker regions being low in atomic number, and the brighter regions being higher in atomic number.

With the JCM-7000, you also have the ability to conduct simultaneous backscatter and secondary electron detector imaging. You can take an image mixing the two of these detectors together to get benefits from both of them in your image as well.

The backscatter detector that is equipped in the JCM-7000 is a solid-state, six-channel detector. This allows for three different types of backscatter imagery: composition, topographic and shadow. Composition will give you a grayscale image, reflecting differences in atomic number, as you can see in the top left. Topographic will give you a surface analysis of the sample, as you can see in the top right. And shadow combines different quadrants of the detector to give you a mixture of composition and topographic, as you can see in the bottom left.

As mentioned previously, an exciting new feature of the JCM-7000 is the live 3-D imaging. This utilizes the backscatter detector to generate a 3-D color map of the current field of view. You can rotate this map to view all sides of the sample and even overlay an X-ray EDS map. What’s great about this feature is that it provides a z-axis, whereas in regular imaging this is unavailable. This makes it a good metrology tool and ideal for determining surface roughness.

And now, a quick video to display the live 3-D analysis.

As seen before, we have our color image of the sample. We go to manual adjustment, select live 3-D and double-click on our specimen that we wish to view. The stage automatically navigates to that specimen, and you can see on the right-hand side that there is a color map of the current surface of the sample. You can click on this map, rotate it, and view the sample from all angles.

There are quite a few optional features that can come with this system. JEOL has a wide variety of different sample holders that can be very beneficial depending on the type of sample that you’re working with. There is also a tilt and rotation motorized holder, which mounts directly into the chamber, and can tilt -10 degrees in one direction, and 45 degrees in the other, and rotate 360 degrees around. Smile View mapping software is ideal for topographical analysis. When you take an image in live 3-D mode, if you have this software package, you can generate great reports of 3-D images with different analytical data of the surface.

In terms of sample preparation, JEOL can provide a gold sputter coater, which allows for high vacuum imaging of non-conductive samples.

Also, if you work in a cleanroom environment, or simply are not able to use oil in your laboratory, there is an option for a diaphragm pump which uses no oil.

Hooke College, a member of The McCrone Group, hosts a five-day course specific in scanning electron microscopy. This course covers both theoretical and hands-on instruction for SEM. In this course, you will learn the ins and outs of scanning electron microscopy from SEM setup and operation, to EDS qualitative and quantitative analysis, to secondary and backscatter imaging—all taught by the experts from our analytical group (McCrone Associates). There are also both basic and advanced courses available here at the Hooke College. Hands-on work will be conducted on benchtop and floor model SEMs, for experience on both. With the purchase of a JCM-7000, McCrone Microscopes & Accessories provides one free tuition to this course.

I’d like to thank you all for tuning in to today’s webinar. That’s all for the presentation. If you need any additional information, my contact information is at the bottom of this slide. And now we will turn it over to questioning.

CZ: Okay. Thanks Glenn. It was some great information, and as the webinar was going on, we had some questions start to roll in. If you have any questions, go ahead and type them into the questions field and we’ll start answering them. We have the first one here from Tom. Tom wants to know: Can this instrument be used in a QA/QC environment?

GM: Thank you for the question, Tom; that was a great one. This instrument can definitely be used in a QA/QC environment. We’ve seen it done before—it’s great for taking measurements of small parts. It’s also great for finding trace elements that could be present in some of your samples. But what we like to emphasize the most about this instrument is that it’s so versatile. It can be used in a QA/QC environment, it can be used in a pharmaceutical lab, and it can be used for basic research. So to answer your question, yes, but that doesn’t limit it to a QA/QC environment.

CZ: Okay. Our next question is from Carol. She wants to know what separates a floor model SEM from the NeoScope—so I’m assuming she’s meaning, you know, your traditional large-scale or larger-footprint SEM.

GM: Thanks for the question, Carol. We tend to get that one a lot. Some of the main differences in a floor model compared to the JCM-7000 are with a floor model, you can get incredibly high magnifications—you can get up to 900,000X to 1,000,000X, and you can also very slightly adjust certain parameters like accelerating voltage, vacuum, probe current. And on the JCM-7000, you have those preset parameters at 5, 10 and 15 kV; for accelerating voltage high, low and CR vac for the vacuum settings, and then the four probe current settings as well. So another good separating point between the two is, plain and simple, the footprint. The footprint of the JCM-7000 is much less space, and it can fit directly onto a bench top, whereas with the floor model, you have to dedicate a very large amount of space just to fit that SEM in your laboratory.

CZ: Alright, another question here from Caitlin: Have you seen this instrument used in an educational setting?

GM: Thanks, Caitlin. Kind of piggybacking off of the first question, yes, this instrument can definitely be used in an education setting mainly because it’s so versatile, like I said. We have frequently taken this instrument that we have in demonstration to several colleges around the Chicago area, and we show it to the students. We’ve seen it used in laboratories at universities, and it’s great for basic research. If you want a different view of the samples that you typically work with that you can’t see at a micro scale, then this would be a perfect instrument for that application.

CZ: Okay, this question is from Robert. He wants to know what type of sample preparation is necessary for the NeoScope.

GM: Thanks Robert. That’s a great question. What you want to look at with sample preparation is if your sample is conductive or not conductive. So if you have a conductive sample, you can simply just stick it onto a carbon sticky tab and pop it into the instrument, and you’ll be ready for imaging. If you have a non-conductive sample, you could possibly get electron build-up on the surface—so what you have to do is either use one of the low vacuum or charge reduction vacuum modes on the system to disperse electrons, or simply coat your sample in either carbon or gold, which will then give it a nice conductive surface to work with.

CZ: All right. We have a question from Phil: What are the main differences between previous benchtop models and the JCM-7000?

GM: Thanks, Phil. To kind of list them off, we’ve got the new three live functions, the standard motorized stage that comes with the system, increase in magnification along with resolution, and the new charge reduction vacuum. So the new live features are all three very exciting to us. You get the EDS 3-D and X-ray mapping, the standard motorized stage is incredibly helpful, easy point and click navigation around the stage, as well as image stitching, an increase in magnification from 60,000X to 100,000X along with 8 nm of resolution on the system, and the new charge reduction vacuum, which is very good for looking at biological samples and non-conductive samples.

CZ: Alright, that looks like that will do it for the questions. I’d like to thank everyone for attending today’s webinar, and I’d like to thank Glenn for a great presentation. And be on the lookout for a future McCrone group webinar. We hope to see you then. Thanks.

JEOL JCM-7000 Neoscope benchtop scanning electron microscope SEM.


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