Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

Macadamia Lace Bug

Scanning Electron Microscopy services

The Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) research laboratory is home to two scanning electron microscopes as well as sample preparation equipment. The lab is connected to the Light Microscopy laboratory which boasts research microscopes (stereo, compound, fluorescence, phase contrast, and polarizing) with digital cameras and software.

The facility provides services to honours and postgraduate students, research staff, research fellows, general staff, and commercial projects and consultancies.

Both electron microscopes are used for the investigation of biological and non-biological materials. The systems are equipped with SE (secondary) and BSE (backscatter detectors), X-Ray Analysis capabilities (EDS) and element distribution mapping. The Zeiss EVOLS-15 is also is fitted with VP and EP detectors, and a cold-stage and automated imaging using Zeiss Smart SEM AII (Automated Intelligent Imaging). The Hitachi TM4000 is fitted with High Sensitivity Low Vacuum SE Detector (UVD), cold stage and STEM.

Laboratory services

  • Electron microscopy biological and non-biological materials – imaging and analysis (Zeiss EVOLS-15 and Hitachi TM400)
  • EDS X-Ray analysis and element distribution mapping using Oxford INCA and Oxford AZTEC
  • Research Light Microscopy and imaging
  • Sample preparation using CPD drying or cold stage
  • Sputter Coating of samples with gold or carbon
  • Training in Basic and Advanced Scanning Electron Microscopy and SEM sample preparation
  • Training in EDS X-Ray Analysis for materials science
  • Training in Light Microscopy Techniques.

Image: Macadamia Lace Bug (Family Tingidate) Ulonemia decoris. Research: Craig Maddox – NSW Department Primary Industry, Entomology Branch. Lace bug research and the future of lace bug management Oct 2014. Image taken on Zeiss EVOLS-15 using VP Mode M.Dawes.


SEM Instrumentation

The scanning electron microscopy laboratory has two SEMs and a number of optical microscopes. The specifications of the instrumentation are provided below. In addition, the research facility also has an Olympus BHSM –NL-2 Research Metallurgical Polarizing Microscope.

Scanning electron microscope
Zeiss EVO LS-15

Zeiss EVO LS-15

  • SE Detector (secondary electron)
  • VPSE Detector (variable pressure secondary electron)
  • EPSE Detector (extended pressure secondary electron)
  • Extended range Peltier Cooling Stage
  • 4Q BSD Detector (four quadrant back-scatter – lens mounted)
  • Zeiss Smart SEM AII (Automated Intelligent Imaging Software)
  • EDS Oxford Analysis- INCA X-Act SDD Detector (silicon drift detector - UTW) – quantitative and qualitative analysis, element distribution mapping.
  • Resolution: 3nm at 30kV, 10nm at 3kV, 20nm at 1kV
  • Accelerating Voltage – 3kv to 30kV
  • Large specimen chamber available.
Scanning electron microscope
Hitachi TM4000 plus desktop SEM

Hitachi TM4000 plus desktop SEM

  • SE (standard and charge-up reduction)
  • BSE (Conductor, standard and charge-up)
  • MIX – (standard and charge-up reduction)
  • Image Mode – Normal/Shadow 1/Shadow 2/TOPO
  • High sensitivity four-segment BSE Detector
  • High Sensitivity low vacuum SE detector (UVD)
  • Accelerating Voltage – 5kv, 10kv, 15kv
  • Automated – auto image adjustment: auto focus, auto brightness
  • Camera Navigation
  • EDS Oxford Analysis - AztecOne - SDD Detector (silicon drift detector - UTW) – quantitative and qualitative analysis, element distribution mapping.

Olympus CX41 Research Compound Microscope

  • CX-RFL Reflected light Fluorescence attachment
  • Phase Contrast Turret
  • Polarising lenses
  • Olympus DP26 Digital

Olympus SZX16 Research Stereo Microscope

  • Olympus DP26 Digital Camera
  • Olympus Ring Light
  • Olympus Fibre Optic (2 arm) Light
  • Polarising/Oblique

Leica DMS1000 Digital Microscope

  • Leica LAS Imaging Software


Sample preparation equipment

All equipment for sample preparation is available in the laboratory including:

  • Baltec 050 - Sputter Coater with Evaporative coater attachment (Au, Pt and C coating)
  • Quorum Technology Q150R ES Sputter Coater (Au, Pt and C coating)
  • Polaron 3100 - Critical Point Dryer
  • Ultramicrotome:  Reichert OMU3