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The Electron Microscope: The Materials Characterization Tool of the Millenium



Dale E. Newbury, D B. Williams


Transmission and scanning electron microscopes (TEM and SEM) together offer the most complete tool available for the characterization of materials. This combination of TEM and SEM provides surface and internal imaging of all solid materials over a magnification range from 20,000,000X down to 1X, with routine atomic resolution available at the high end and extraordinary depth of field at the low end. The availability of X-ray spectrometry on both instruments and electron spectrometry on TEMs gives quantitative analysis capabilities covering the whole periodic table, at spatial resolutions from the micrometer to the nanometer scale and analytical sensitivities close to the single-atom level. Complementary electron diffraction techniques for crystallographic measurements are standard on both instruments. For more than forty years, since the development of thin-foil preparation techniques, the TEM has grown in versatility and power to the point where it is an indispensable part of a materials research laboratory.
Acta Materialia


analytical electron microscope, analytical scanning electron microscope, diffraction imaging, microstructure


Newbury, D. and Williams, D. (2000), The Electron Microscope: The Materials Characterization Tool of the Millenium, Acta Materialia (Accessed May 28, 2024)


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Created January 1, 2000, Updated February 17, 2017