Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

The SEM is a microscope that uses electrons instead of light to form an image. Since their development in the early 1950's, scanning electron microscopes have developed new areas of study in the medical and physical science communities. The SEM has allowed researchers to examine a much bigger variety of specimens.

cogsHow does it work?

The scanning electron microscope has many advantages over traditional microscopes. The SEM has a large depth of field, which allows more of a specimen to be in focus at one time. The SEM also has much higher resolution, so closely spaced specimens can be magnified at much higher levels.

Because the SEM uses electromagnets rather than lenses, the researcher has much more control in the degree of magnification. All of these advantages, as well as the actual strikingly clear images, make the scanning electron microscope one of the most useful instruments in research today.


Microscopic feature measurement; fracture characterization; microstructure studies; thin coating evaluations; surface contamination examination; failure analysis; steel; ceramic; forensics; paints; surface coatings

Sample Handling Requirements:

Sample size from few millimetres up to few centimetres. Must be electrically conductive (or capable of being coated in a thin carbon or gold film to ensure electrical conductivity).

Complementary Techniques:

Optical Microscopy, Confocal Microscopy, TEM, EDX, EBSD.

Warwick Capability:

Zeiss Supra 55-VP Field Emission SEM with EDAX Genesis EDX and EBSD, JEOL 6100 SEM with EDAX Genesis EDX, Gatan MonoCL3 CL System.


Claire Gerard: c dot gerard at warwick dot ac dot uk / 07385 145064


green_tick.gif Warwick collect/analyse data
green_tick.gif Warwick collect data
Available to user with expertise/ contribution
Spare capacity for collaborative research