Topographic Contrast (Sharpness) Depending on
the Accelerating Energy of Electron Beam
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The SEM contrast strongly depends on the surface topography and the feature of the specimen. As proposed by Joy & Joy [1], a decrease in the beam energy increases the sharpness of the images governed by topographic contrast. Figures 4576a (a) and (b) show the edge effects at primary beam energies of 5 keV and 15 keV, respectively. It is clear that the sharpness of the topography at 5 keV is higher than that at 15 keV. Figure 4576a (c) indicates the volume of secondary electron generation at different beam energies, causing the sharpness difference.

sharpness of the images related to beam energy

Figure 4576a. (a) and (b) showing the edge effects at primary beam energies of 5 keV and 15 keV,
respectively; (c) indicating the origin of sharpness difference related to beam energies.
δ is the total generation of secondary electrons. Adapted from [2].

[1] Joy, D.C. & Joy, C.S. (1996) Low voltage scanning electron microscopy. Micron 27, 247–263.
[2] J. Cazaux, (2005) Recent developments and new strategies in scanning electron microscopy, Journal of Microscopy, 217, 16–35.

 

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