What is TEM?

Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) is an analytical technique that is complementary to the other analytical instrumentation we have at Analytical Answers. It uses a high energy (typically up to 200 keV) incident electron beam that passes through a specially-prepared, thin sample to produce high resolution images of the sample.

What does it do?

The sample stops varying amounts of the electrons as they pass through the sample, much like bones and tissues stop varying amounts of diagnostic X-rays. Similarly, the electrons that pass through the sample can be recorded, providing an image of the sample’s nanostructure. Additionally, just as in the SEM, characteristic X-rays are emitted by the various elements found in the sample, and these can also be analyzed.

How does it help me?

TEM is the analytical method that provides the ultimate level of image resolution, capable of imaging atomic level lattice structure. And since the beam passes through the sample before significant scattering can occur within the sample section, EDS analysis can be performed on features significantly smaller than the 1-3 µm minimum feature size for EDS analysis in the SEM. When the electron beam is scanned in the TEM (Scanning TEM or STEM), nanometer scale elemental maps can be collected to better understand the elemental composition of your defects, inclusions, or materials in general.

What materials can I analyze?

Generally speaking, most materials that are not ultrasensitive to the electron beam and can be analyzed in a high vacuum environment can be analyzed in the TEM/STEM. TEM/STEM is often used to analyze semiconductor device failure sites, critical dimension measurements for semiconductor and thin film applications, inclusions in polymers, biomedical device materials, nanoparticles, and even biological materials. Give us a call to discuss your specific samples.