Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)


Solid systems; systems with liquid phase
Composites, materials, organic and inorganic substances, thin layers



  • Device: GeminiSEM 300 (Zeiss), accelerating voltage 0,02 kV ... 30 kV
  • Resolution: 0,8 nm at 15 kV
  • Magnification: 12x - 2.000.000x
  • Everhart-Thornley SE detector
  • inLens detector
  • ESB detector (energy-selective detector for back-scattering electrons)
  • VP mode (low vacuum: 5 - 500 PA)
  • Cryo transfer system Alto 2500
  • EDX (energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis), Oxford Instruments X-Max 80 (Silcon Drift Detector)
  • Digital image capture and archiving


Evaluation methods and targets

  • Image analysis by image processing software (Olympus GmbH, Germany): determination of particle sizes and their distribution
  • Morphology of fractures, cuts and surfaces with a resolution up to 10 nm
  • Qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis
  • Identification of morphological structures in materials from natural and synthetic polymers
  • Investigation of structure-property-correlations depending on production and growth parameters, respectively, particularly natural polymers
  • Investigation of liquid (particularly water-based) systems with cryo-SEM
  • Determination of element composition of microstructures


Application examples

  • Humid carbamate fibers: fracture morphology in cryo transfer technology (→ Image gallery)
  • Microcapsules: surface and wall thickness (→ Image gallery)
  • Composite: PLA-matrix with cellulose fibers, fracture morphology (→ Image gallery)
  • Cryo-SEM of formation of pores and crystalline phases in cementitious binder systems
© Fraunhofer IAP
Humid carbamate fibers: fracture morphology in cryo transfer technology.
© Fraunhofer IAP
Composite: PLA-matrix with cellulose fibers, fracture morphology.
© Fraunhofer IAP
Microcapsules: surface and wall thickness.