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The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is one of the most
versatile and widely used tools of modern science as it allows
the study of both morphology and composition of biological and
physical materials.

By scanning an electron probe across a specimen, high resolution
images of the morphology or topography of a specimen, with great
depth of field, at very low or very high magnifications can be
obtained. Compositional analysis of a material may also be
obtained by monitoring secondary X-rays produced by the
electron-specimen interaction. Thus detailed maps of elemental
distribution can be produced from multi-phase materials or
complex, bio-active materials. Characterization of fine
particulate matter in terms of size, shape, and distribution as
well as statistical analyses of these parameters, may be

There are many different types of SEM designed for specific
purposes ranging from routine morphological studies, to
high-speed compositional analyses or to the study of
environment-sensitive materials. The Centre for Microscopy &
Microanalysis presents three particular types of SEM that, in
combination, provide a powerful analytical approach for many
research or quality-control applications.

Additional information available at

[Summary provided by The University of Queensland]