Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) allows the imaging of surfaces, fracture surfaces or transverse sections with high resolution (2 - 5 nm) and high depth of field. It is a versatile tool that permits movement through the magnification range by a factor of 20 to 200,000 times within seconds, quick changes from one sample to the next, and the imaging of non-conductive surfaces using vapor deposition. In combination with X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), SEM analysis is the ideal tool for damage analysis, as it combines microscopic visualization and chemical point analysis.
Cross-section of a TiN/TiAlN multilayer with ingrown defect. The contrast between the layers arises from the different average atomic number of the TiN layers (light) and the TiAlN layers (darker). The WC hard metal substrate appears particularly bright.
DLC layer with various metallic intermediate layers. The intermediate layers show distinct columnar growth structures, while the DLC layer is amorphous and structureless.
High-resolution image of coated nanofibers showing the fiber diameters of around 300nm, and the grains of the metallic coating, which are around 10nm in size.