A scanning electron microscope (SEM) is a major investment, especially for academic labs with limited budgets. When making a purchase, it’s critical to anticipate your long-term needs. Yet what exactly are those needs? And how can you make sure the SEM you purchase today continues to serve you well into the future?
Here are four criteria academic labs should consider as they strive to make an investment as future-proof as possible:
- Invest in a system versatile enough to handle a wide range of samples. Most universities need to accommodate different types of research, which, in turn, requires the ability to analyze samples of materials that come in different shapes, sizes, and weights. Make sure your SEM can work with insulating materials, handle large, heavy samples, and be able to analyze the routine, smaller samples.
- Choose an SEM with the flexibility to accommodate multiple accessories. Whether it’s energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), wavelength dispersive spectroscopy (WDS), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), or another analytic technique, today’s researchers need the ability to explore different types of information or serve as a platform for experimentation. Make sure your SEM includes a flexible chamber with the ports needed to accommodate a range of accessories and detectors.
- Purchase an instrument that allows everyone to obtain elemental or chemical information, regardless of experience level. A single instrument that includes both SEM and EDS significantly reduces the amount of training required, and researchers can avoid the time required to set up multiple systems or switch between user interfaces. By instantly seeing what elements are present, where they are located, and what the concentrations are, users will be able to accelerate their research results.
- Select an SEM with a high degree of automation. As universities grow, they likely will be required to accommodate an increasing number of new SEM users. The more time they spend on training, the fewer number of projects the lab can run. By investing in an SEM that automates operations such as alignment and focusing, universities can accommodate a greater number of students, while ensuring they maximize their research productivity.
By choosing an SEM that addresses both their current and future needs, academic labs can make a sound investment that preserves their budget and accelerates their research programs.
Stay tuned for more information about an affordable new instrument that will future proof your results without compromising your budget. Register to join our launch event: https://ter.li/uk49e4
EJ Vesseur is a product marketing manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific.
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