Chapter 5 - Usability, Comfort and Options

User Friendliness

The graphical user interface for controlling the SEM must be intuitive and simple, while allowing access to advanced parameters (eg, apertures, bias, beam current). Providing captured images directly with measurements and comments can be helpful, as well as the simultaneous display of BE and SE images. 

Intuitive operation is a must for contemporary SEM-EDX devices

Comfort & Options

Especially in the field of tabletop SEM and compact devices, the offered comfort features and options of the individual manufacturers differ in some cases very clearly. You should note the following checklist:

1. Digital macro camera to take a digital photo supports easy navigation on the specimen

2. Panorama function for high-resolution imaging of large sample areas using automatic mosaic grids

3. Motorization of the axes (XYZRT), especially a tilting of the sample can be interesting if your sample shows topographic structures.

Coxem SEM sample stage tilt

By tilting the sample, the spatial topography becomes clearly visible

4. Low vacuum mode to microscope non-conductive samples directly without sputtering

5. Simple sputtering apparatuses for conductive coating to microscope insulating specimens in high resolution

6. STEM detector to investigate organic thin sections in the transmission image

7. Special rehearsal stage with Peltier cooling to microscopy vacuum-stable samples (e.g. biological preparations, polymer foams)

Coxem SEM-EDX Cooling stage

Onion cells with and without cooling stage