November 12, 2009

FEI sells off SEM line

According to, FEI Co., manufacturer of electron microscopes, has sold it's desktop SEM line to Phenom-World, a subsidiary of NTS Group B.V. (NTS) of Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

The desktop SEM has recently become a new tool available to users of SEM who don't need a high-end research level instrument. If all that is required is relatively low magnification imaging and you don't have time for a learning curve a desktop SEM is the way to go.

The article also made mention of the recent financial health of FEI Co, which is good news.

October 27, 2009

JEOL ClairScope

As a followup on what was presented at M&M this summer, JEOL is formally introducing their correlative SEM/LM tool the ClairScope(TM). JASM-6200.1.jpg

The press release is here.

The product sheet is also available here

I haven't seen or heard of a similar SEM arrangement and it looks interesting. I'm not a biologist so this is maybe a silly question, but knowing how the SEM side of the instrument is going to work, how do you keep cells alive while introducing stains to increase the BSE contrast? Also, what is the cost of the sample dishes (and are they reusable) since they provide only a 0.25 mm2 SEM observable area. I'd be happy to hear from anyone who knows more about these instruments since I don't have a lot of details at this point.

September 22, 2009

Atomic resolution

Not sure if this really qualifies as SEM news, but Brookhaven National Lab, along with Hitachii have developed a Scanning microscope (technically a scanning transmission electron microscope, or STEM) capable of atomic resolution.

September 8, 2009


While the terms "gunshot residue" and "fully automated" should, in my opinion, never be uttered in the same sentence, FEI has a product available to do just that.

Learn a bit more about it here or here.

September 2, 2009

Zeiss "Shuttle and Find"

Carl Zeiss SMT has announced it has come up with a way to aid those doing correlative microscopy. It's called "Shuttle and Find" and you can watch a demo video at their website. Basically, if you (and/or your colleagues) are too lazy/incompetent to take notes about your sample orientation and areas of interest, they have a software package and sample holder they would be happy to sell you.

I'm afraid to ask how much this setup costs, but I bet you could by a mountain of note pads for the same amount.

August 4, 2009

SEM related info from M&M 2009 c/o Microscopy and Analysis Blog

A couple of interesting SEM related items posted to the M&M blog at Microscopy and Analysis.

One about the JEOL ClairScope SEM/Light microscope hybrid here. The system uses and electron transparent thin film membrane to allow for the direct imaging of wet materials from below and an optical microscope to allow light imaging to be done on the same areas simultaneously from above.

Another about the Novelx mini-SEM here. I'm not sold on the "desktop" SEM yet, they've been around for a couple of years and can do imaging through a simple interface that almost anyone can walk up to and get started on. They are lacking in microanalytical capabilities and your sample has to be pretty small. Granted your sample should be as small as possible for traditional SEMs but large sample chambers allow for much more flexibility. Sub-10nm resolution from a FE system isn't much to brag about IMO, but I also don't have any idea what the price is for one of these.

The rest of the Microscopy and Analysis coverage from M&M 2009.

July 24, 2009

Remote operation

A bit slow on the uptake on this one, but JEOL is deomnstrating their remote operation capabilities for their analytical FESEM. Not big news, but remote operation is a great thing for places where people aren't close to the research infrastructure they want/need to use (like most places in the northern midwest and west).

I've played a bit with using VNC software to remotely operate the UMD SEM. It's awesome if I'm on campus. Off campus, (at my house) I just don't have the bandwidth to make it work effectively. But I can see it being useful if one campus has a tool and a researcher at another campus wants to use it but doesn't want to incur the expense of traveling several hours across the state for a session remote operation would be an ideal solution.

It also has benefits if you have a very sensitive instrument (such as an analytical FESEM) which can be sensitive to operator induced vibrations or thermal variation in the room. Setup a workstation in the room next door and completely isolate the instrument.

July 3, 2009

New FESEM from Carl Zeiss SMT

New this week in scanning electron microscopy...

Carl Zeiss SMT introduces upgraded FESEM. One interesting accessory is the sample cleaning ability, I haven't seen this option directly available from a SEM manufacturer before, but I haven't been shopping for a FESEM lately either...

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