Scanning Electron Microscope Demo Sat 1-3

We got a nice tabletop SEM loaned from a UC scientist for a short while.
I was going to demo it after the meeting but I had a school function I needed to attend.
I’ll be at the Hive Sat afternoon ~1-3pm to help demo what it can do.
Unfortunately I think it will only be here for a short time. She would like it back for the school year.
We may get it again if things work out.


So want to be there. Can I bring semiconductors to look at?

Sure. It likes conductive things.

No wet or oily stuff.

I looked at some surface mount components on a failed board.

Hive13-0004(x50) circuit board.jpg

Hive13-0005(x50) circuit board IC chip leg mount.jpg

Interesting part is that the contract in the image is based on the SEM electron beam interaction, not on the color of the sample.


“Contrast” not “contact” (stupid spell correct)

Hive13-0004(x50) circuit board.jpg

Hive13-0005(x50) circuit board IC chip leg mount.jpg

Yaay! I am so there on Saturday.

I have a question: So you say “no wet or oily stuff.” Does that mean pond water samples are not acceptable?
If not, I have plenty of dry, non-oily things to bring in.


The chamber gets evacuated and the water will flash off and possibly contaminate the emitter.

I have some partially decapped semiconductors. Should be interesting.

Sounds like fun but still in Seattle … have fun with it gang :slight_smile:

Congratulations Brad, it looks like you have now achieved 10x resolution on a $7500 electron microscope… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Actually it was 50x on a $50,000 SEM. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Is 50x the max for that machine? I will be there on Saturday.



50x is the minimum.

You can get good images up to about 3000x. The machine will do up to 30,000x but things get fuzzy if they are not gold sputter coated.

I’m taking a vacation day tomorrow so I’ll probably go to the Hive for a bit.


Here is a link to a spec sheet.


Thanks to everyone that showed up for the demo. Hope you are as excited as I am about this awesome tool.

If you have any questions feel free to email me or Melodie Fickenscher (her card is taped up by the SEM) with questions.


Uploaded a few pics to the wiki, people can see there

Wow, cool. Love the diatoms!

I had a blast…There are several more images I scanned this evening.

However, I have had a problem with the L/R knob.

I already texted Brad directly.

I’m worried and embarrassed, but I might as well tell the truth.

I apologize for all the inconveniences.


Happened to me while I was using it. :grinning:

No worries. I talked about this briefly in the training but probably didn’t emphasize it enough.

The stage can get “stuck” at the edge of the travel.
All you need to do is evacuate the chamber, determine which direction it is stuck (far left or far right), gently push on the base of the stage (the part that moves) in the opposite direction while turning the left/right knob to move in that direction. You can press at the base of the sample shaft that the disc holders screw into. You should feel the stage “break free” and the knob should work again. Very little force is required.

There is a clutch on each knob that will slip if the stage gets bound up. The clutch seems to be able to drive in one direction slightly more than the other. So, one can move the stage to the edge of travel and are unable to move back.

If people are uncomfortable doing this I can swing by and take a look.


P.S. thanks for posting the issue. That is the right way to handle it.