The resolution measured on a standard Gold-on-Carbon resolution target at beam energy of 30kV, and probe current of 500pA, is 5nm.
The typical distance between the membrane and the sample, namely, the airSEM™ working distance, is 50-200 µm.
The lifetime of a membrane depends on the application at hand. In most applications, the main reason for replacing a membrane is membrane contamination. Naturally, this is more common when working with wet samples. Membrane replacement is simple and takes a few minutes.
There are several significant differences between airSEM™ and ESEM:
When using the appropriate sample holder, airSEM™ can be used to directly image liquids and the interface between solids and liquids. The limited electron penetration enables imaging the top few microns of the sample only.
No, the airSEM™ operator is always fully protected from X-ray radiation. A set of leaded glass shields surrounding the airSEM™ provides a barrier between the X-rays generated when the electrons impinge on the sample and the surrounding room.
Yes, optical slides can be used in airSEM™ with no need for special preparation steps. The same slides prepared for optical microscope can be used to obtain high-resolution airSEM™ images.
One of the advantages of the open architecture in airSEM™ is the ability to easily embed the microscope in a controlled mini-environment - very similar to a glove box. Thus, the airSEM™ can be used with highly volatile or otherwise hard-to-handle chemicals, such as the ones that may be part of battery or fuel cell-related research.