Hitachi breaks SEM resolution barrier

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Related tags: Scanning electron microscope, Microscopy, Electron

A scanning electron microscope with the world's highest resolution
has been launched, which claims previously unobtainable resolutions
of 0.4nm at 30kV and 1.6nm at 1kV. The product is aimed at
researchers in the pharmaceutical and food industries, reports
Wai Lang Chu.

Scanning Electron microscope (SEM), is an equipment which can magnify various things for observation by using an electron beam. The resultant magnification is superior to that of the optical microscope. Hitachi's latest addition to its extensive range is set to provide unparalleled detail to biological and chemical samples in the laboratory, making it ideally suitable for the pharmaceutical and food industry.

The in-lens configuration is fully compatible with EDX detectors, and offers high EDX sensitivity. EDX analysis and imaging can be carried out without changing specimen position. The S-5500 can be linked to the PCI database for web-enabled microscopy.

Hitachi's Super ExB energy filter enhances signal collection and allows the secondary and backscattered electron contributions to the image to be optimised.

A new intelligent graphical user interface has been combined with a large LCD monitor to enables images to be produced quickly and easily. A simple mode selection makes it easy to switch between high-resolution imaging and EDX analysis operating conditions.

A wide variety of specimen holders are available for a host of different sample types and applications. These include cross-sections, transmission specimens, rotating samples and cryo-specimens.

Hitachi​ is well known as a major supplier of SEMs. The launch of the S-5500 follows the recent release of the S-3400N variable pressure scanning electron microscope, which benefits from an upgrade in display and signal mixing facilities.

Indeed, Hitachi is at the forefront of a market that can boast sales totalling $811m (€604m). Of this total 60 per cent, or $520m, corresponds to light microscopy. Electron microscopy is second in market dominance with a 26 per cent share of 1999 revenues ($222m). Confocal microscopy has a six per cent share ($55m) while scanning probe microscopy comes in at eight per cent ($78m).

According to Global Information, by 2005, the light microscopy market will decrease, confocal will remain steady, electron and SPM will grow at healthy, but decreasing, rates culminating in sales for 2005 of $747m.

Related topics: Processing

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