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Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

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The term Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) refers to an electron microscope whereby an electron beam is passed over (scans) the object that is to be enlarged in a specific pattern and the interactions of the electrons with the object are used to generate an image of the object. The images typically generated with a scanning electron microscope are images of object surfaces, which have a high depth of field. Depending on the type of interaction, backscattered electrons (BSE), secondary electrons (SE) or X-rays are produced. Roughly speaking, the BSE generate a material or element contrast, while the SE produce topographical contrast. The X-ray can undergo energy-dispersive analysis.


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