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A Brief Introduction to SEM

Scanning electron microscopy, or SEM, produces detailed, magnified images of an object by scanning its surface to create a high resolution image.

SEM does this using a focused beam of electrons.

The resulting images show information about what the object is made of and its physical features.

The instrument which obtains this information about composition and topography is a scanning electron microscope.

As a practical and useful tool, SEM has a broad range of applications, across several industries and sectors. It can analyse both man-made and naturally occurring materials.

What Happens During SEM?

Scanning electron microscopy works by scanning a sample with electron beams. An electron gun fires these beams, which then accelerate down the column of the scanning electron microscope.

During this action, the electron beams pass through a series of lenses and apertures, which act to focus it.

This occurs under vacuum conditions, which prevents and molecules or atoms already present in the microscope column from interacting with the electron beam.

This ensures a high quality of imaging.

The vacuum also protects the electron source from vibrations and noise.

The electron beams scan the sample in a raster pattern, scanning the surface area in lines from side to side, top to bottom.

The electrons interact with atoms on the surface of the sample. This interaction creates signals in the form of secondary electrons, backscattered electrons and rays that are characteristic of the sample.

Detectors in the microscope pick up these signals and create high-resolution images displayed on a computer screen.

What is the best way to measure powder flow?

In industries where precise powder flow information is needed, such as in pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing industries, the ring shear testing method is one of the more reliable solutions. This technique offers insights into powder flow behaviour by sub-jecting powder specimens to controlled shear forces.

SciMed offers a variety of ring shear testers, including the RST-XS.s and the RST-0.1pc. Both can automatically analyse the com-pressive strength, internal friction, bulk density and compressibility of the samples. 

This provides data necessary for optimising pro-duction processes and ensuring product consistency. This info can also aid in the design of storage systems, streamline material han-dling and address flow-related issues.

Ring Shear Tester
Electron Microscopy

Biological Sciences

Uses for SEM in biological sciences include identification of bacterial strains and testing vaccines.

It is also applied in genetics.

SEM can also help to measure the effect of climate change on different species, and to uncover new species.

General labware

Forensics

SEM is a reliable method for analysing gunshot residue, and for analysing paint particles and fibres at crime scenes.

It can analyse handwriting and print, and is a means of examining the authenticity of banknotes.

It is used to analyse filament bulbs at traffic accident sites.

Geological Sampling

A scanning electron microscope can identify compositional differences of soil and rock samples, and determine the effects of weathering on materials.

SEM is used in archaeological sites for identifying early tools and artefacts, and for dating historic ruins.

It can measure soil quality for agriculture and farming.

What to do next?

If you require more information, such as detailed application notes or a conversation with a member of our team, please contact us using the methods provided below.

What to do next?

Interpreting ring shear tester results opens doors to optimising material handling, production processes, and structural design. Understanding these outcomes to gauge flowability, caking tendencies, and bulk density, is essential for enhancing manufacturing efficiency or resolving flow-related issues.

To use these insights for improved operations, explore our ring shear tester options, and discover how these findings can improve handling in your industry. Visit each product page for detailed specifications or reach out to us on our enquiry page to speak to an expert about which ring shear tester is most appropriate for your specific requirements.

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