Cardboard with a more sustainable coating

On average, we open seven packaged items per day, most of them food items. All of this together makes for a mountain of plastic. But more and more often our tomatoes, apples and cookies are packaged in cardboard. To help ...

'Big muscles and wrinkled skin': The Hercules pseudoscorpions

Frida Kahlo, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hercules—they are all among the namesakes of the new pseudoscorpions recently described in the Arachnology Department at the Museum der Natur Hamburg. The prominent names suit the ...

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Scanning electron microscope

The scanning electron microscope (SEM) is a type of electron microscope that images the sample surface by scanning it with a high-energy beam of electrons in a raster scan pattern. The electrons interact with the atoms that make up the sample producing signals that contain information about the sample's surface topography, composition and other properties such as electrical conductivity.

The types of signals produced by an SEM include secondary electrons, back scattered electrons (BSE), characteristic x-rays, light (cathodoluminescence), specimen current and transmitted electrons. These types of signal all require specialized detectors that are not usually all present on a single machine. The signals result from interactions of the electron beam with atoms at or near the surface of the sample. In the most common or standard detection mode, secondary electron imaging or SEI, the SEM can produce very high-resolution images of a sample surface, revealing details about 1 to 5 nm in size. Due to the way these images are created, SEM micrographs have a very large depth of field yielding a characteristic three-dimensional appearance useful for understanding the surface structure of a sample. This is exemplified by the micrograph of pollen shown to the right. A wide range of magnifications is possible, from about x 25 (about equivalent to that of a powerful hand-lens) to about x 250,000, about 250 times the magnification limit of the best light microscopes. Back-scattered electrons (BSE) are beam electrons that are reflected from the sample by elastic scattering. BSE are often used in analytical SEM along with the spectra made from the characteristic x-rays. Because the intensity of the BSE signal is strongly related to the atomic number (Z) of the specimen, BSE images can provide information about the distribution of different elements in the sample. For the same reason, BSE imaging can image colloidal gold immuno-labels of 5 or 10 nm diameter which would otherwise be difficult or impossible to detect in secondary electron images in biological specimens. Characteristic X-rays are emitted when the electron beam removes an inner shell electron from the sample, causing a higher energy electron to fill the shell and release energy. These characteristic x-rays are used to identify the composition and measure the abundance of elements in the sample.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA