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E

Electron Microscope

A high-resolution microscope that can image the surface or interior of an object using electrons. Much higher magnifications and deeper focus than with the regular light microscope are possible here. Again, as with regular light microscopes, there is also the dependence of the resolving power on the wavelength used.

Procedure:
The material to be examined is irradiated in a high vacuum with an electron beam of certain energy (e.g. 20 keV). The required electrons are usually emitted by tungsten wire, i.e. a hot cathode, and are accelerated by the high voltage applied between the cathode and the anode (ring anode).

In a Wehnelt cylinder, the incandescent cathode is located with a more negative potential compared to the cathode, so that the electron beam is focused.

After the electrons pass through the ring anode, the beam is focused and directed onto the specimen using a system of magnetic lenses or apertures. In the transmission electron microscope (TEM), the sample material is in the form of a thin layer (as a thin section with, for example, a thickness of 0.05 µm or as an imprint of the original surface). By detecting the portion of the electrons passing through the layer, an image of the sample under investigation is obtained. In contrast to the TEM, in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) the electrons reflected from the sample enter the detector, so that it is also possible to examine thicker layers. The electron beam is directed in lines over the sample surface by a raster generator. Depending on the energy of the incident electrons and the type of sample material, the beam penetrates the surface to different depths, so that some of the electrons contributing to the image of the sample also originate from deeper layers. Since X-rays are also generated when the sample material is bombarded with high-energy electrons, a combination of SEM and X-ray microanalysis is particularly useful for surface analyses (for electroplated layers, paint films, PVD and CVD layers).
(Source excerpted: "Magazine for Surface Technology")

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