A SEM is
a valuable analytical tool. It allows for a non-destructive examination of various types of materials.
optical microscopy, which traditionally uses light to form an image, the SEM uses electrons to generate an image.
Since electrons are used instead of light, the sample must be conductive, such as a metal fragment. If the sample
is not conductive, such as a ceramic, the sample typically is sputter coated with carbon, gold or iridium, to allow for
proper imaging in the SEM.
of the SEM versus optical microscopy are a greater depth of focus and ability to resolve details on the surface of the sample.
It also can be combined with a detector for energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), used to identify the
elemental constituents of a sample.
of SEM versus optical microscopy is the presence of color. Optical images provide color variations which are not observed
in the SEM images, which are shades of grey. Therefore, it is useful to examine samples optically before placing them in the
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