Researchers at today’s industrial labs typically work under extremely tight timelines. Whether they’re developing new products or investigating existing ones for failures, they’re typically tasked with analyzing more samples than they have time for. To keep up with all the work, researchers need an efficient scanning electron microscope (SEM) that provides fast time-to-data. They also need an approachable instrument that provides accurate compositional data, via energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), quickly and easily.
The problem is that many of today’s SEMs fail to provide a simple user experience. Despite years of innovation and integration exercises that have made SEM-EDS more approachable, the perception of operating an electron microscope is that it is complicated to use, requiring busy industrial labs to relegate their use to a small number of specially trained technicians. Moreover, the SEM-EDS workflows required are often unnecessarily long and complex, slowing the time to results.
It doesn’t have to be that way. A more efficient and approachable SEM-EDS experience would allow industrial labs to shorten their workflows, increasing both their efficiency and their profits. By moving to an instrument that provides an experience that seamlessly blends both SEM and EDS microanalysis into a single step, researchers could obtain elemental data directly from within the SEM image, eliminating setup time and the need to switch between two different systems. A single platform would make accessing valuable EDS data as easy and as fast as standard SEM imaging. Additionally, this combined EDS-SEM instrument would be easier to use, and it would reduce the complexity of the workflow, enabling researchers to obtain elemental information twice as fast than with conventional EDS.
The focus of any lab is to obtain the right data, with a more intuitive SEM. Industrial labs could then extend materials analysis to more users with the peace of mind that data quality will not suffer. A highly automated SEM would help reduce the time researchers spend fussing with alignments, refocusing the microscope or other instrument-based obstacles that distract the researcher from his goal of generating valuable data. A modern SEM that places data collection as the center would free more time for data collection, and the instrument becomes a partner in the process of generating quality results rather than an obstacle to beat.
Efficiency and approachability are mandatory SEM requirements for today’s busy industrial labs—and the good news is that Thermo Fisher is poised to deliver.
We recently unveiled our next-generation Axia ChemiSEM. This approachable new instrument allows users of all experience levels to obtain fast, expert results. Learn more here.
Eric Goergen is a product marketing manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific.
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