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3D electron microscopy

Whether studying new materials or attempting to find the root causes of failures, highly localized characterization of increasingly complex samples with ever-smaller features is becoming increasingly critical. In fact, sub-surface or three-dimensional characterization is often required to fully understand the material properties of a sample. This can be particularly useful for heterogeneous materials or the detection and characterization of inclusions and precipitates. DualBeam (focused ion beam – scanning electron microscopy, FIB-SEM) instrumentation enables the acquisition of high-quality 3D datasets, at nanometer resolution, by serial sectioning (sequential application of SEM imaging and FIB milling).

Plasma FIB (PFIB)

Often, large volumes, which are inaccessible with conventional gallium FIB instruments, are necessary to obtain representative and statistically relevant results due to the additional contextual information a large sample provides. Plasma FIB instruments, such as the Thermo Scientific Helios 5 PFIB DualBeam and the Thermo Scientific Helios Hydra DualBeam, offer excellent high-current performance enabling fully automated, high-quality, large-volume 3D datasets in a variety of modalities. Additionally, the multiple ion source technology of the Helios Hydra DualBeam allows you to choose the best ion source for each particular sample and use case.

Plasma FIB serial sectioning can provide information on materials contrast (with backscattered electron imaging), compositional information (with energy dispersive spectroscopy), and microstructural and crystallographic information (with electron backscatter diffraction). This data can then be visualized with Thermo Scientific Avizo Software, delivering a unique workflow solution for the highest-resolution, advanced 3D characterization and analysis at the nanometer scale.

Laser PFIB

The Thermo Scientific Helios 5 Laser PFIB System goes beyond regular plasma FIB to perform cross-sectioning and 3D characterization of even larger volumes, up to millimeter-scale (with >15,000x faster coarse material removal as compared to gallium FIB). It also facilitates the processing of materials that are typically challenging for ion beam milling, such as charging and beam sensitive materials, with minimal damage.

Zircally sample 3d EBSD reconstruction produced with the Helios DualBeam.
3D EBSD reconstruction of a zircalloy sample (250 x 250 x 220 μm³) produced with the Helios PFIB DualBeam, Auto Slice & View 4 Software, and Avizo Software.


Automotive oil filter casing (a polymer/glass fiber composite) imaged on the Helios Hydra DualBeam and reconstructed into a 3D volume in Avizo Software. Horizontal field width is 350 µm.

Embedded tissue sample imaged on the Helios Hydra DualBeam and reconstructed into a 3D volume in Amira Software, highlighting the ability of the Helios Hydra DualBeam to perform high-quality 3D characterization of organic materials.

Automotive oil filter casing (a polymer/glass fiber composite) imaged on the Helios Hydra DualBeam and reconstructed into a 3D volume in Avizo Software. Horizontal field width is 350 µm.

Embedded tissue sample imaged on the Helios Hydra DualBeam and reconstructed into a 3D volume in Amira Software, highlighting the ability of the Helios Hydra DualBeam to perform high-quality 3D characterization of organic materials.


Quality control and failure analysis using electron microscopy

Quality control and failure analysis

Quality control and assurance are essential in modern industry. We offer a range of EM and spectroscopy tools for multi-scale and multi-modal analysis of defects, allowing you to make reliable and informed decisions for process control and improvement.

Fundamental Materials Research_R&D_Thumb_274x180_144DPI

Fundamental Materials Research

Novel materials are investigated at increasingly smaller scales for maximum control of their physical and chemical properties. Electron microscopy provides researchers with key insight into a wide variety of material characteristics at the micro- to nano-scale.



Battery Research

Battery development is enabled by multi-scale analysis with microCT, SEM and TEM, Raman spectroscopy, XPS, and digital 3D visualization and analysis. Learn how this approach provides the structural and chemical information needed to build better batteries.

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Polymers Research

Polymer microstructure dictates the material’s bulk characteristics and performance. Electron microscopy enables comprehensive microscale analysis of polymer morphology and composition for R&D and quality control applications.

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Metals Research

Effective production of metals requires precise control of inclusions and precipitates. Our automated tools can perform a variety of tasks critical for metal analysis including; nanoparticle counting, EDS chemical analysis and TEM sample preparation.

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Oil and Gas

As the demand for oil and gas continues, there is an ongoing need for efficient and effective extraction of hydrocarbons. Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a range of microscopy and spectroscopy solutions for a variety of petroleum science applications.

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Fibers and Filters

The diameter, morphology and density of synthetic fibers are key parameters that determine the lifetime and functionality of a filter. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is the ideal technique for quickly and easily investigating these features.

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Geological Research

Geoscience relies on consistent and accurate multi-scale observation of features within rock samples. SEM-EDS, combined with automation software, enables direct, large-scale analysis of texture and mineral composition for petrology and mineralogy research.

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AutoScript TEM

  • Provides a direct link between research needs and microscope automation
  • Enables improved reproducibility and accuracy
  • Focuses time on the microscope for higher throughput

FIB-SEM and Laser Ablation

  • All three beams have same coincident point for accurate and repeatable cut placement
  • Millimeter-scale cross sections with up to 15,000x faster material removal than a typical FIB
  • Statistically relevant deep subsurface and 3D data analysis

Thermo Scientific Helios Hydra plasma focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (DualBeam)

Helios Hydra DualBeam

  • 4 fast switchable ion species (Xe, Ar, O, N) for optimized PFIB processing of a widest range of materials
  • Ga-free TEM sample preparation
  • Extreme high resolution SEM imaging

Helios 5 HX/Helios 5 UX/Helios 5 FX DualBeam

  • Fully automated, high-quality, ultra-thin TEM sample preparation
  • High throughput, high resolution subsurface and 3D characterization
  • Rapid nanoprototyping capabilities

Helios 5 PFIB DualBeam

  • Gallium-free STEM and TEM sample preparation
  • Multi-modal subsurface and 3D information
  • Next-generation 2.5 μA xenon plasma FIB column
Thermo Scientific Scios 2 plasma focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (DualBeam)

Scios 2 DualBeam

  • Full support of magnetic and non-conductive samples
  • High throughput subsurface and 3D characterization
  • Advanced ease of use and automation capabilities

Phenom ParticleX Steel Desktop SEM

  • SEM and EDS integrated
  • Ease of use
  • Sub-micrometer inclusions

Avizo Software
Materials Science

  • Support for multi-data/multi-view, multi-channel, time series, very large data
  • Advanced multi-mode 2D/3D automatic registration
  • Artifact reduction algorithms
Thermo Scientific Maps electron microscopy software

Maps Software

  • Acquire high-resolution images over large areas
  • Easily find regions of interest
  • Automate image acquisition process
  • Correlate data from different sources

3D Reconstruction

  • Intuitive user interface, maximum employability
  • Intuitive fully automated user interface
  • Based on 'shape from shading' technology, no stage tilt required


  • Ultra-fast heating solution for in situ high resolution imaging
  • Fully integrated
  • Temperatures up to 1200 °C
Thermo Scientific Auto Slice and View 4.0 serial section electron microscopy software

Auto Slice and View 4.0 Software

  • Automated serial sectioning for DualBeam
  • Multi-modal data acquisition (SEM, EDS, EBSD)
  • On-the-fly editing capabilities
  • Edge based cut placement
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Electron microscopy services for
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To ensure optimal system performance, we provide you access to a world-class network of field service experts, technical support, and certified spare parts.