Mistakes Can Destroy Your Scanning Electron Microscope.

Mistakes Can Destroy Your Scanning Electron Microscope.

Technology is developed from time to time to make human beings more capable of doing new things. A microscope is also such an instrument that made human beings capable of understanding microorganisms and made them capable of seeing things that cannot be seen from naked eyes. This scientific instrument was first invented in the sixteenth century. Today there are umpteen microscopes, each having its significance.

Here Are Some Warnings and Mistakes to Avoid as That Will Destroy Your Scanning Electron Microscope

Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy

There are mainly two types of electron microscopy, namely – scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Scanning electron microscopy produces images of the sample by using the scanner. Electron beam excites the atoms of secondary electrons. It helps in scanning the topography and also detects the signals. Transmission electron microscopy – as the name suggests, it fires electrons into a thin layer that helps analyze the composition structure of the sample that could be detected from the nature of the collision, the phase of electron beam and its reflection that pierced through the thin layer.

It is advisable to dust and clean the microscope with a soft cloth as otherwise it will slowly pile dust and ruin the microscope and will not deliver the desired results.

Scanning Electron Microscope Resolution

A scanning electron microscope is scanned over the surface of the sample and gives the result of the topography of the surface.SEM is considered the route that can work wonders in generating a high-resolution image of the object. They help show spatial variation in the composition of chemicals by using the EDS, BSE, and CL. The resolution of the SEM is about 10 nanometers (nm).

Resolution is the soul of the microscope as it helps in imaging the picture clearing. The topography result would be unacceptable if there is a damaged resolution.

How Much Is An Electron Microscope Cost

An electron microscope is prepared with ultimate sophistication, and there are different varieties of the microscope, and each hugely depends on its specifications. These devices can easily cost thousands to millions of dollars. Therefore, keeping them with high care is crucial. The electron microscope inbuilt many costly devices, such as resolution and magnification power, quality and type of electron detectors, the current and voltage of the electron beams, and high-speed cameras. It also has a vacuum of the specimen chamber, and it is also built according to the type of specimens that will be imaged.

These kinds of highly scientific devices, which are sophisticated and robust, are heavily expensive. If you find such devices at lower prices, don’t expect the quality and not let you see down to the atomic level.

Comparing the scanning electron microscope and transmission electron microscope, the TEM is more expensive than the other. But still, the SEM would cost thousands of dollars. It does not stop here; there are additional expenses of operating and maintenance as well.

Scanning Electron Microscope Principle

SEM  plays a vital role in adding kinetic energy. The best thing is that the sample materials can be analyzed repeatedly because the SEM analysis is non-destructive. The X-rays generated on interactions with electrons do not lead to volume loss.

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Lab | Earth Observatory of Singapore

Components of the scanning electron microscope –

  • Display or data output devices
  • Electron lenses
  • Detectors for all signals of interest
  • Electron source
  • Sample stage

There are some infrastructure requirements as well like –

  • Power supply
  • Vibration-free floor
  • Vacuum supply
  • Cooling system
  • A room should be free of electric and magnetic fields.

The Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope

ESEM is the descendant of the conventional Scanning electron microscope. It is used to image the wet and insulating samples. It can accommodate the low pressure of gas for around ten tons. These gases turn into water and then can be maintained in the native state. It is a unique system where it can examine uncoated biological and industrial materials with an electron beam in a high chamber pressure atmosphere of water vapour. That is why it is capable of analyzing specimens without any destruction and additional procedures.

After knowing about the particular microscope and its maintenance, it is understood that irresponsible behaviour can cost thousands of dollars to buy a new microscope.

Slow Sample Degradation

In some cases, sample degradation may not be visible but in some samples it is prominent. In that case, you can apply some of the techniques to slow down the process of sample degradation as it affects the end result.


The main mistake and disadvantage of SEM is the size and cost of the microscope. It requires maintenance of voltage, steady current and circulation of cool water. It is not a child’s play to operate the SEM instead it requires training to operate and prepare the samples.