Why use FEG-SEM?

FEG-SEM (Field Emission Gun – Scanning Electron Microscope) provides the very highest resolution imaging compared to regular SEM. It guarantees high brightness, crisp images and stable beam current.

Usually FEG-SEMs are large floor-standing systems, but the same high resolution technology is now available in a much more convenient desktop instrument: the Thermo Scientific Phenom Pharos G2.

Very Highest Resolution

FEG gives the very highest resolution, with high brightness, crisp images and a stable beam current. The Phenom Pharos G2 offers a resolution of 2.0 nm at 20 kV. This shows the shape of nanoparticles, imperfections in coatings and other features that would be missed by other SEMs, including those with a traditional tungsten source.

Potassium-copper microstructure

Now in a Desktop Instrument

Field emission SEMs are usually large systems requiring a dedicated room with special infrastructure and connections. They’re often difficult to operate, requiring highly trained specialists. For this reason, FEG-SEM work is often outsourced to service labs or central facilities.

However, having a FEG-SEM in house is now a much more realistic option. The Phenom Pharos G2 Desktop FEG-SEM is the only desktop SEM with a FEG source. It’s easy to install and operate, so you no longer need to rely on external services.

The Phenom Pharos has all the capabilities of a floor-standing FEG-SEM, housed in a tabletop model. It often outperforms floor-standing systems in terms of image quality, with a significantly better user experience.

The Phenom range of desktop SEMs are known for being straightforward, user-friendly and easy to use, making the technique more accessible to a wider range of users. Take a look at the rest of the range here…

While other SEMs can end up being fully booked, the Phenom Pharos G2 performs imaging and analysis so quickly that in many facilities it’s used as a walk-up tool.

Thermo Phenom Pharos G2

Convenient and Easy to Use

Right from the start, the Phenom Pharos G2 is quicker to install. Compared to the previous generation, installation is 40% faster, with shorter bake-out times so the process takes just 36 hours instead of the previous 60 hours.

With a small tabletop footprint, it doesn’t take up much space, so it can be housed easily in your lab. You can then access results much faster than when using a floor-standing model housed elsewhere.

The Phenom Pharos is reliable, with robust parts and an integrated UPS to prevent power outage issues. Field emission tips generally cost more, but they are long-lasting. They usually last more than a year, so there’s less down-time for source exchange.

The system is intuitive, easy-to-learn and highly productive, right from the start. Once a sample is loaded, an optical image is available immediately for navigation. After switching to SEM mode, an image appears in 30 seconds with an incredible amount of detail. It’s then easy to zoom in and navigate around the sample.

FEG-SEM image of a fuel cell
Fuel cell

For Demanding Applications

While optical and tungsten SEMs provide high-resolution imaging, some applications require the higher resolution of a FEG-SEM, for example:

  • Morphology of nanoparticles.
  • Small defects in thin films.
  • Insulating materials.
  • Materials sensitive to high-kV electron beams.

A field emission SEM provides a stable, high-brightness beam for these demanding materials.

Polymer fibres (FEG-SEM)
Polymer fibres

Soft Samples

Due to the high performance at low acceleration voltage of FEG compared to other SEM electron sources, you can study insulating and beam-sensitive materials without sample preparation. Samples are not damaged by the beam and nanoscale features are clearly visible.

The expanded energy range gives you the ability to image beam-sensitive specimens such as:

  • Zeolites – used in water purification, pharmaceutical powders and many common tablet and capsule-based medicines.
  • Polymer fibers – in materials such as nylon, polyester, spandex and Kevlar.

Low-kV imaging is essential for studying these types of materials, because higher energy electrons damage their structure.

FEG-SEM Image of Zeolite

More Information

Blue Scientific is the official distributor of entry-level SEM from Thermo Scientific in the UK and Ireland. We’re available to answer all your questions – just get in touch:

  Contact us on +44 (0)1223 422 269 or info@blue-scientific.com

  Thermo Scientific SEM range