Electron microscopy
Desktop/Portable/Tabletop SEM
- Practical Electron Microscopy and Database -
- An Online Book -
Microanalysis | EM Book                                                                                   https://www.globalsino.com/EM/        

This book (Practical Electron Microscopy and Database) is a reference for TEM and SEM students, operators, engineers, technicians, managers, and researchers.


A desktop (or called portable or tabletop) SEM (scanning electron microscope) is an instrument that can be applied for imaging and microscopic analysis of materials and biological samples. Similar to full-size SEM systems, desktop SEMs scans electron beams on surfaces of samples and then provides three-dimensional (3-D) images. The desktop SEMs can be applied to life science, forensics, pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, and material science.

The main advantages which the conventional SEMs do not have are:
          i) Desktop SEMs can easily sit on a bench or table in laboratories.
          ii) Desktop SEMs are more cost-effective than large SEMs in many cases.
          iii) Desktop SEMs are easy to use and maintain, fast, and require less training.

Some models of desktop SEMs are EVEX Mini-SEM, Table-top Mini-SEM SNE-3000M (see Figure 3335), Aspex Express/Explorer, Hitachi TM 3000, and Hitachi TM1000 SEM. Table 3335 lists key specifications of desktop and full-size SEM systems.

Table-top Mini-SEM SNE-3000M

Figure 3335. Table-top Mini-SEM SNE-3000M.

Table 3335. Key specifications of desktop and full-size SEM systems.

Full-size SEMs
Desktop SEMs
Up to 1,000,000 Up to 100,000
SE and BSE detectors SE and BSE detectors
Accelerating Voltage
200V - 30 kV 1 kV to 15 kV 
2~3 nm at 30 kV, 5~8 nm at 3 kV ≤ 17 nm
Field of view
15 mm at 10 mm working distance  
Probe current
1 pA ~ 1 µA  
Drift in probe current
W-filament: 0.25%/hour, LaB6: 2%/hour  
Noise in probe current
1% for W- and LaB6-filaments  
Maximum sample size
Up to wafer size 75 mm in diameter, 15 mm in thickness
Analytical methods
  Single-phase AC 110 - 240 Volt, 50/60 Hz, 300 W
Higher vacuum Various 'high pressure' modes, no coating is needed
More training is needed Easy to use and maintain, can learn how to use it in about 30 seconds.
More controls Limited controls
Need services No special services required, Easy to exchange filaments
Need special installation Water, special power, air-plug into standard outlet 
Large Small
Up to $ 1000 k $ 80 k





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