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Home  >  Technology  >  Q&A
What is the resolution obtained with airSEM TM?

The resolution measured on a standard Gold-on-Carbon resolution target at beam energy of 30kV, and probe current of 500pA, is 5nm.

What is the typical distance between the membrane and the sample?

The typical distance between the membrane and the sample, namely, the  airSEM™  working distance, is 50-200 µm.

How is that airSEM TM is not affected by sample charging in the same way that vacuum SEM is affected?
In airSEM™, sample charging is suppressed by available charges induced by electron beam air ionization and present in the vicinity of the sample. Therefore, airSEM™ allows distortion-free imaging of dielectric samples, such as ceramics and other insulators, without any sample coating.
What is the typical life time of a membrane?

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.

What is the difference between airSEM TM and ESEM?

There are several significant differences between airSEM™ and ESEM:

  1. In ESEM, the sample resides inside a vacuum chamber, while in airSEM™ the sample lies in open air.
  2. With both techniques, having gas molecules in the vicinity of the sample helps reduce charging. However, in ESEM, the electrons move along a longer path in the region of high pressure compared to airSEM™, which reduces the resolution.
  3. When imaging wet samples in ESEM, the sample must be cooled to ~5C°, while in airSEM™ the sample is under ambient conditions.
Can airSEM TM be used to image liquids

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.

Is there an X-ray-related safety issue in airSEM TM?

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.

Can one use optical slides directly in airSEM TM ?

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.

Can airSEM TM be used to image fuel cells?

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.