Scanning Electron Microscope

The Pomona College Physics and Astronomy Department currently operates a Hitachi SU-70 Scanning Electron Microscope. This facility is the end result of a joint NSF grant to faculty at both Pomona College and Harvey Mudd College (Due to the renovation of Millikan Laboratory, the equipment is housed in Seaver South.)

Check out some samples images and information from SEM projects (2013)

Dr. Tanenbaum works on the SEM

Dr. Tanenbaum works on the SEM

Do you need to use the SEM for a project? Go here to complete the Scanning Electron Microscope Training Request form. The typical training session is 3 hours, some direct instruction on our calibration samples, some video instruction, and then some time spent on your samples. You should plan to come with a sample and describe that sample for us before the training. In order to be used in the SEM, the sample must be clean and dry. We have a way to pre pump the sample overnight if necessary, as well as a sputter coater if your sample is completely insulating and you want to make imaging easier. (This can greatly reduce the complexity of imaging some samples.) You should discuss with your advisor what conditions he or she thinks are best for your samples.

For purposes of the training only 2 people can really become trained users at any one training session. Otherwise, no one gets enough time at the controls to get a feel for the instrument. Of course this varies if some people have previous SEM experience and are simply learning our instrument in relation to one they already understand. Basic training will cover imaging only, but elemental analysis or lithography are possible with future training sessions for advanced users.

View of the SEM Interface

We have no monetary charges for local users at this time, but we do require all users to submit a report to us sharing some of their best images along with a description of how they were used in support of the research project. This helps us to enable future funding. We also will shut out users who do not conform to our rules and regulations. This is a necessity for us to maintain low overhead and trouble free operation.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1126080.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.