Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM)

In the ever growing field of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) new categories of products have emerged to meet the diverse needs of different types of users and labs. There is a wide array of full size SEM's, benchtop SEM's (also referred to as desktop SEM or tabletop SEM), and a new category compact SEM's. This page aims at giving you information in order to invest in the right tool for your applications.

Benchtop/tabletop/desktop SEM
| Compact SEM | Full Size SEM | Comparison Chart

Introduction of the different SEM's categories

Benchtop/tabletop/desktop SEM:
Small SEM's that are placed on a bench or table, easy to use, portable, resolution less than full size SEM's, scaled down features to accommodate size (no motorization, tilt or rotate, etc.) and reduce cost. These systems do not require special training, less facilities and the maintenance need is reduced. The systems are useful, but cannot replace or supplement the functions of a full size SEM.

Full Size SEM:
Full SEMs are larger in size, have a wide range of emission sources, sample size capacity and features such as large range of acceleration voltages (kV), motorization, tilt, rotate and software control. These systems have high resolution and the ability to offer advanced analysis capability such as Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS). These systems require more space, special facilities requirements, frequent maintenance and users with a certain level of knowledge and training.

Compact SEM:
Combines the positive elements of both benchtop and full SEMs: small footprint, easy to use, portable, reduced facility requirements and maintenance, features of full size SEMs such as larger range of acceleration voltage (kV), motorization, tilt, rotate and software control. These systems are relatively inexpensive and can address a majority of the capability of full size SEMs including secondary electron and backscatter electron imaging, low vacuum and EDS.

Why a compact SEM?

       If you want any of these items we offer Compact SEMs that meet your requirements!

SEM Comparison Chart

   Benchtop/tabletop/desktop SEM  Compact SEM  Full Size SEM
 Sample Positioning  Limited  Good  Good
 Samples Tilt  No  Yes  Yes
 Stage Rotate  No  Yes  Yes
 5-Axis Motorized Stage  No  Yes  Yes
 Detectors  Usually Limited  SE, BSE  SE, BSE
 Acceleration Voltage
 Range 0.5kV to 30kV
 No  Yes  Yes
 EDS to 30kV  No  Option  Option
 10x to 300,000x
 No  Yes  Yes
 Space Requirement  Small  Small  Large
 Mobility  Yes  Yes  No
 Setup Time  Low  Low  Long
 Price  Affordable price  Affordable price  High price
 Ease of Use  Good  Good  Good
 Chamber accommodates a
 variety of sample sizes,
 detectors and in-situ
  No  Yes  



For more information, please go to our Compact SEM pages
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