Modern cutting-edge metals are increasingly engineered at the nanoscale to enhance their durability, reliability, and cost. Even traditional processes are now augmented with microscopic inspection to determine the resulting material’s elemental and structural composition.

In particular, the effective production of metals requires precise control of inclusions and precipitates. Depending on their consistency and distribution, these can either strengthen the material or act as contaminants, greatly impacting quality and lifetime. These microscopic properties can include;

  • Nano-precipitates formed during rolling, annealing or hot pressing
  • Nanoscale morphological changes (dislocations, crack initiation sites)
  • Grain boundaries
  • Oxide inclusions that cause casting interruptions in steelmaking

Historically, researchers have used optical microscopy to rate the size and number of inclusions, but this method does not provide any elemental information. Even optical emission spectroscopy, which can determine the elemental ratios of inclusions, does not accurately characterize the shape and composition of individual inclusions. Electron microscopy techniques have also been used for metal analysis, with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) capable of visualizing larger oxide inclusions, whereas transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is generally required to study features smaller than 100 nm. TEM analysis, however, has previously required manual particle counting and analysis, limiting the amount of data that could be collected to several dozen particles per day.

Stainless steel medical device sample prepared by PFIB milling.
Stainless steel medical device sample generated with PFIB milling, with total dimensions of 55 x 70 μm. The red box indicates the amount of area that could be prepared in the same amount of time with a typical gallium FIB.

Thermo Fisher Scientific provides a range of electron microscopy solutions that make metal analysis not only more informative but also far more rapid. Thanks to our unique automation capabilities, a thorough overview of the elemental and structural composition of hundreds, if not thousands, of precipitates is possible in a manner of hours, as compared to the few dozen that would be found in a day of manual analysis. Not only is statistical information on the bulk available, but individual precipitates can also be seen with high detail, providing a multi-scale overview of the metal.

Our robust, automated instruments can perform a variety of critical tasks including:

Zirconium alloy sample, analyzed with electron backscatter diffraction to produce a 3D microstructural reconstruction.
3D microstructural information provided by electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) of a zirconium alloy sample reconstructed from 400 slices. Sample courtesy of the University of Manchester.

3D EDS TEM tomography of precipitates in an AlMgSi alloy.

3D EDS TEM tomography of precipitates in an AlMgSi alloy.

Applications

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Process Control
 

Modern industry demands high throughput with superior quality, a balance that is maintained through robust process control. SEM and TEM tools with dedicated automation software provide rapid, multi-scale information for process monitoring and improvement.

 

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Quality Control
 

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.

 

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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.

 

Aluminum mineral grain found with SEM during parts cleanliness testing

Cleanliness
 

More than ever, modern manufacturing necessitates reliable, quality components. With scanning electron microscopy, parts cleanliness analysis can be brought inhouse, providing you with a broad range of analytical data and shortening your production cycle.

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S/TEM Sample Preparation

DualBeam microscopes enable the preparation of high-quality, ultra-thin samples for S/TEM analysis. Thanks to advanced automation, users with any experience level can obtain expert-level results for a wide range of materials.

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3D Materials Characterization

Development of materials often requires multi-scale 3D characterization. DualBeam instruments enable serial sectioning of large volumes and subsequent SEM imaging at nanometer scale, which can be processed into high-quality 3D reconstructions of the sample.

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Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy

Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) collects detailed elemental information along with electron microscopy images, providing critical compositional context for EM observations. With EDS, chemical composition can be determined from quick, holistic surface scans down to individual atoms.

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EDS Elemental Analysis

EDS provides vital compositional information to electron microscope observations. In particular, our unique Super-X and Dual-X Detector Systems add options for enhanced throughput and/or sensitivity, allowing you to optimize data acquisition to meet your research priorities.

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3D EDS Tomography

Modern materials research is increasingly reliant on nanoscale analysis in three dimensions. 3D characterization, including compositional data for full chemical and structural context, is possible with 3D EM and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy.

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ColorSEM

Using live EDS (energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) with live quantification, ColorSEM Technology transforms SEM imaging into a color technique. Any user can now acquire elemental data continuously for more complete information than ever before.

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Cross-sectioning

Cross sectioning provides extra insight by revealing sub-surface information. DualBeam instruments feature superior focused ion beam columns for high-quality cross sectioning. With automation, unattended high-throughput processing of samples is possible.

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In Situ experimentation

Direct, real-time observation of microstructural changes with electron microscopy is necessary to understand the underlying principles of dynamic processes such as recrystallization, grain growth, and phase transformation during heating, cooling, and wetting.

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Particle analysis

Particle analysis plays a vital role in nanomaterials research and quality control. The nanometer-scale resolution and superior imaging of electron microscopy can be combined with specialized software for rapid characterization of powders and particles.

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X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) enables surface analysis, providing elemental composition as well as the chemical and electronic state of the top 10 nm of a material. With depth profiling, XPS analysis extends to compositional insight of layers.

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S/TEM Sample Preparation

DualBeam microscopes enable the preparation of high-quality, ultra-thin samples for S/TEM analysis. Thanks to advanced automation, users with any experience level can obtain expert-level results for a wide range of materials.

Learn more ›

3D Materials Characterization

Development of materials often requires multi-scale 3D characterization. DualBeam instruments enable serial sectioning of large volumes and subsequent SEM imaging at nanometer scale, which can be processed into high-quality 3D reconstructions of the sample.

Learn more ›

Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy

Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) collects detailed elemental information along with electron microscopy images, providing critical compositional context for EM observations. With EDS, chemical composition can be determined from quick, holistic surface scans down to individual atoms.

Learn more ›

EDS Elemental Analysis

EDS provides vital compositional information to electron microscope observations. In particular, our unique Super-X and Dual-X Detector Systems add options for enhanced throughput and/or sensitivity, allowing you to optimize data acquisition to meet your research priorities.

Learn more ›

3D EDS Tomography

Modern materials research is increasingly reliant on nanoscale analysis in three dimensions. 3D characterization, including compositional data for full chemical and structural context, is possible with 3D EM and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy.

Learn more ›

ColorSEM

Using live EDS (energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) with live quantification, ColorSEM Technology transforms SEM imaging into a color technique. Any user can now acquire elemental data continuously for more complete information than ever before.

Learn more ›

Cross-sectioning

Cross sectioning provides extra insight by revealing sub-surface information. DualBeam instruments feature superior focused ion beam columns for high-quality cross sectioning. With automation, unattended high-throughput processing of samples is possible.

Learn more ›

In Situ experimentation

Direct, real-time observation of microstructural changes with electron microscopy is necessary to understand the underlying principles of dynamic processes such as recrystallization, grain growth, and phase transformation during heating, cooling, and wetting.

Learn more ›

Particle analysis

Particle analysis plays a vital role in nanomaterials research and quality control. The nanometer-scale resolution and superior imaging of electron microscopy can be combined with specialized software for rapid characterization of powders and particles.

Learn more ›

X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) enables surface analysis, providing elemental composition as well as the chemical and electronic state of the top 10 nm of a material. With depth profiling, XPS analysis extends to compositional insight of layers.

Learn more ›

Products

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Talos F200S TEM

  • Precise chemical composition data
  • High performance imaging and precise compositional analysis for dynamic microscopy
  • Features Velox Software for fast and easy acquisition and analysis of multimodal data

Talos F200X TEM

  • High resolution/throughput in STEM imaging and chemical analysis
  • Add application-specific in situ sample holders for dynamic experiments
  • Features Velox Software for fast and easy acquisition and analysis of multimodal data

Talos F200C TEM

  • Flexible EDS analysis reveals chemical information
  • High-contrast, high-quality TEM and STEM imaging
  • Ceta 16 Mpixel CMOS camera provides large field of view and high read-out speed

Talos F200i TEM

  • High-quality S/TEM images and accurate EDS
  • Available with dual EDS technology
  • Best all-round in situ capabilities
  • Large field-of-view imaging at high speed

Helios 5 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

Scios 2 DualBeam

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

Apreo 2 SEM

  • High-performance SEM for all-round nanometer or sub-nanometer resolution
  • In-column T1 backscatter detector for sensitive, TV-rate materials contrast
  • Excellent performance at long working distance (10 mm)

Phenom Pharos Desktop SEM

  • FEG source with 2 up to 15 kV acceleration voltage range
  • <2.5 nm (SE) and <4.0 nm (BSE) resolution @ 15 kV; up to 1,000,000x magnification
  • Optional fully integrated EDS and SE detector

Phenom ParticleX TC Desktop SEM

  • Versatile desktop SEM with automation software for Technical Cleanliness
  • Resolution <10 nm; magnification up to 200,000x
  • Optional SE detector

Nexsa XPS

  • Tilt Module for ARXPS measurements
  • Dual-mode ion source for expanded depth profiling capabilities
  • Insulator analysis

K-Alpha XPS

  • Selectable area spectroscopy
  • Micro-focused monochromator
  • High-resolution chemical state spectroscopy

ESCALAB Xi+ XPS

  • High sensitivity spectroscopy
  • XPS with non-monochromatic X-rays
  • 180° hemispherical energy analyzer

Avizo Software

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

AutoTEM 5

  • Fully automated in situ S/TEM sample preparation
  • Support of top-down, planar and inverted geometry
  • Highly configurable workflow
  • Easy to use, intuitive user interface

Velox

  • An experiments panel on the left side of the processing window.
  • Live quantitative mapping
  • Interactive detector layout interface for reproducible experiment control & set-up

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

Metallurgical Sample Holder

  • Designed to support resin-mounted samples
  • Preferred solution for metallurgy and when working with inserts
  • Sample size up to 32 mm diameter and 30 mm height

μHeater

  • Ultra-fast heating solution for in situ high resolution imaging
  • Fully integrated
  • Temperatures up to 1200 °C

Tensile Sample Holder

  • Determine batch quality
  • Determine manufacturing consistencys
  • Aid the design process

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Electron microscopy services for
the materials science

To ensure optimal system performance, we provide you access to a world-class network of field service experts, technical support, and certified spare parts.

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