Optical Microscopy (OM)
This is a technique that provides digital images of the sample in transmission or reflection mode at up to 90x.
Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM/EDX)
SEM is one of the most versatile and powerful microscopy methods providing magnifications of up to 50,000x. This method is best known for the incredible quality of the 3-D images which can be generated. When coupled with EDX this method can also be used to provide an elemental composition map of the sample. Samples are fixed to the sample holder and then gold coated to form a conductive surface. The image is then formed by scanning the sample using a finely tuned electron beam and monitoring the reflected electrons from the sample surface. This allows the creation of a much higher magnification image than is possible by light microscopy. This method is useful for either transparent or non-transparent specimens which can be placed into a high vacuum. Magnifications greater than 50,000x can be obtained which far exceed the 1,000x maximum magnification possible for light microscopy.
Sample images are captured by placing the sample on a glass slide and observing the light reflected off the sample. This method is useful for non-transparent specimens. Magnifications ranging from 35-90X can be obtained. Images are digitally captured and can then be analyzed to determine object size.
Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
TEM is a technique in which an electron beam is transmitted through a sample in order to obtain a high resolution image of a material. This technique allows for some of the highest resolution images currently obtainable. Typical resolution limits are in the low to sub nanometer range. TEM is an excellent tool for the analysis of nanoparticles and biological samples.
Transmission Light Microscopy
Sample images are obtained by placing the sample on a glass slide and observing the light transmitted through the sample. This technique is best for samples which are partially transparent or for the observation of fine powders. Digital images of the sample are captured allowing the determination of object size. This technique is useful for the observation of particulates as small as 1μm in diameter.