Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Focused Ion Beam (FIB)

Instrumentation for SEM and FIB:

Staff Contacts

Jim Mabon (SEM,FIB)
372 MRL

Honghui Zhou (SEM)
404 MRL

Zhiyu Wang (FIB)
256 MRL


SEM is used to study topography, morphology and local chemical and phase composition from nanometers to millimeters. Study crystallographic relationships including texture, boundary character, strain, deformation mechanisms through electron diffraction. Identify phases. Spectroscopically study electron beam induced light emission (cathodoluminescence) of materials from room to Liquid He temperature. Microscopes include a high resolution cold field emission SEM, an analytical Schottky source SEM equipped with EDS, WDS, EBSD, CL, and a He cold stage, and a low vacuum general purpose SEM. FIB combines a focused Ga ion beam with a high resolution SEM provides nanofabrication and site-specific sample preparation capabilities.

Hitachi S-4800 High Resolution SEM

B66 MRL Materials Research Laboratory (217) 244-4520


High Resolution Field Emission SEM
1 nm resolution at 15 kV, WD=4mm
1.4 nm resolution at 1 kV, WD=1.5nm, Deceleration mode
2.0 nm resolution at 1 kV, WD=1.5mm, Normal mode

Hitachi S-4700 High Resolution SEM

0018 Materials Research Laboratory (217) 244-4520


High Resolution Low Voltage Imaging
Cold field emission gun: 2.5 nm resolution at 1kV, 1.5 nm resolution at 15 kV

Oxford Instruments ISIS EDS X-ray Microanalysis System
Centaurus BSE detector

FEI Dual Beam 235 FIB

B62 Materials Research Laboratory (217) 244-5465

This instrument is a combination of a high-resolution field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) and a scanning metal ion beam microscope. It provides significant new capabilities for microscopic imaging, nanofabrication, and site-selective TEM sample preparation.

Microscopic Imaging
The SEM column is equipped with a Schottky thermal field emission gun that provides a resolution < 2.5 nm for accelerating voltages between 0.2 to 30 keV. The up to 30 keV ion column with a gallium metal ion source provides currents ranging from 1 pA to 40 nA. In ion beam imaging (secondary electrons) the resolution is 7 nm @ 1 pA beam current. The concurrent use of the ion and electron microscopes has an synergistic effect and significantly expands the capabilities of both.

The DB-FIB is a fabrication tool with which researchers can build devices on a nanoscale. Using the Ga ion beam one can remove material (etch) from the surface in a controlled pattern. Furthermore, using electron or ion beam assisted CVD, it is possible to selectively deposit Platinum metal with line-widths down to several nanometers. The dimension of the lines can be further controlled by selective removal/etching with the ion beams.

The combination of high-resolution imaging with controlled etching allows the user to identify areas of interest on a sample and prepare site specific cross-sectional or plan view TEM samples. An in-situ micromanipulator allows the TEM sample to be extracted, mounted and thinned on a grid for analysis in the TEM.

JEOL 7000F Analytical SEM

0020 Materials Research Laboratory
(217) 333-4265

The JSM-7000F SEM offers very high resolution, a multi-purpose specimen chamber, a motorized automated specimen stage, one-action specimen exchange, and ideal analytical geometry with large probe current at small probe diameter to meet the needs for high performance characterization of nano-structures using techniques including EDS, WDS, EBSD, and CL.

Analytical Accessories

  • Thermo Electron state-of-the-art EDS and WDS X-ray Microanalysis System with atmospheric thin window EDS detector and high performance WDS parallel beam spectrometer with hybrid X-ray optics
  • HKL Technology EBSD System with high resolution camera for crystallographic measurements, high speed texture mapping, and phase identification. Forward Scatter Detector for crystallographic contrast imaging
  • Gatan MonoCL3 Cathodoluminesence(CL) Spectrometer and imaging system for 300-1700nm. Liquid He Cooled stage module
Major Specifications
Resolution 1.2nm (30kV) , 1.5 nm (15kV), 3.0 nm (1kV) imaging performance 3.0 nm (15 kV, 10 mm, 5nA) for high resolution analytical performance
Accelerating Voltage 0.5 to 30 kV
Electron Source Schottky Field Emission Gun
Probe Current <1 pA to >200nA
Magnification x10 to 500,000
Image Modes Secondary Electron Image, Backscattered Electron Image (Composition, Topography), Forward Scatter detector (EBSD), Cathodoluminesence
Accessory Ports 11 ports with optimized geometry for analytical detectors Specimen Stage Eucentric goniometer (5 axis motorized) X=70mm, Y=50mm, Z=3 to 41 mm, R=360° (endless) T=-5 to 70°
Image Store Up to 2560 x 2048 pixels Analytical Working Distance 10mm EDS 15mm WDS


JEOL JSM-6060LV Low Vacuum Scanning Electron Microscope

0021 Materials Research Laboratory
(217) 333-4265

The JSM-6060LV is a general purpose high-performance scanning electron microscope with excellent secondary electron imaging and backscattered electron Imaging resolution. The intuitive PC interface allows the instrument to be easily operated by novices after a relatively short introduction to SEM and training session, along with some subsequent practice. The specimen chamber can accommodate a specimen of up to 5 inches in diameter. Operation training emphasizes "manual" operation and optimizing alignment and operating parameters, rather than automated functions, to facilitate better understanding of the basic theory of operation. As the user develops skills, this also helps insure optimal images are obtained. The fully automatic Low Vacuum (variable pressure) mode allows for observation of specimens that cannot be viewed at high vacuum because of a nonconductive surface or excessive water content. In addition to an X-ray microanalysis system, it can also perform basic EBIC imaging.

Major Specifications
Resolution High Vacuum mode: 3.5nm (30 kV, 6mm WD)
Low Vacuum mode: 4.0nm (30 kV, 6mm WD)
Accelerating Voltage 0.5 to 30 kV (53 steps)
Electron Source Pre-centered W hairpin filament
Probe Current 1 pA to ~1000nA
Magnification x5(48 mm WD) to 300,000 (149 steps)
Image Modes Secondary Electron Image Backscattered Electron Image (Composition, Topography, and Shadow), solid state type detectors
Objective Lens Conical lens, WD 6 to 48 mm
Objective Aperture 30 micron, manually centered with OL wobbler
Specimen Stage Eucentric goniometer, X=80mm, Y=40mm, Z=5 to 48mm, R=360° (endless), T=-10 to 90°
Image Store 1280 x 960 pixels
Analytical Working Distance 10mm for EDS and Standard Operation
Vacuum mode changeover Automatic (PC interface controlled)
LV mode (10 - 270 Pa)
LV Detecter: BEI (all modes)
Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis System Oxford Instruments ISIS EDS System
10 mm2 ATW Si(Li) X-ray Detector
130 eV resolution (Mn K-alpha)
Light Element Detection (Be-U)
Sensitivities typically (0.1% - 1%)
Qualitative Analysis
Quantitative Analysis (excluding light elements and with certain limitations and requirements)
Digital X-ray Mapping and Imaging, X-ray Linescans