SEM&C-AFM with Optical Profiler

General information


Microscopy | Spectroscopy

Key instrumentation
Electron & Scanning Probe Microscopes, AFM & X-Ray microanalysis

Scanning Electron Microscope system with EDS and colocalised AFM (SEM&C-AFM) under SEM observation. It has a tungsten filament source and a unique four-lens Wide Field OpticsTM column. It is endowed with a giant vacuum chamber that can host large samples and, beyond the mentioned AFM and a low vacuum and water vapor detector, a variety of ancillary equipment. These include nanomanipulation facilities, piezo microdynamometers, and access to electronic signals. It will also soon be endowed with a separate STM instrument.

The Optical Profiler – optical profiling microscope (Z20 by ZETA Instruments) – is an ancillary equipment that can be used for optical profiling of any type of surface and light signal. It provides 3D metrology and imaging capability in a compact, robust package, which simultaneously collects high-resolution 3D data and a True Color infinite focus image.

Technical description
The TESCAN VEGA Scanning Electron Microscope is equipped with a variety of detectors: Everhart-Thornley Secondary Electron (SE), back-scattered electron (BSE) detector, an X-ray detector for EDS microanalysis (Oxford Instruments INCA 200), plus a low vacuum, ionization detector with the possibility of operation in water vapor. EDS microanalysis allows for identification of elemental distribution of sub-micrometer areas of the specimens, while low vacuum operation is of help with easily charged specimens. SEM main parameters are: high voltage range from 3 kV to 30 kV, beam current from 10 pA to 100 nA and a wide magnification range spanning from 50X to 1M X. Resolution is 3 nm @30kV in high vacuum condition and 3.5 nm @30 kV in low vacuum; 8 nm using the low vacuum detector at 30 kV. High-resolution is obviously achieved on conducting samples; for non-conducting samples the microscope operation is also available in low vacuum, with a partial pressure from 7 up to 500 Pa in nitrogen or water vapor. When necessary, the facility is also equipped with an on-site Quorum gold sputter coater, to be used to avoid electrical charging of highly insulating samples. The 34 l vacuum vessel (340 x 315 x 320 cm3) allows both for the mentioned variety of detectors and for the insertion of large samples and/or ancillary equipment, beyond the availability of 20 vacuum sealed access ports for customized characterization experiments. Unique feature of this instrument is a high vacuum AFM Micro
Research areas and applications

Fundamental Materials Research, Quality control and failure analysis, Technical Cleanliness, Forensics, Catalysis Research, Materials Testing (energy storage, automotive, etc).

Characterization of composite materials, solar cells and interfaces in medicine, LAB on Chip, MEMS e MicroFluidica, prosthetics, energy, robotics and microelectronics (3D metrology and in semiconductors). Topography and spectroscopic characterization of surfaces and
interfaces of polymers, cultural heritage.

Science highlights

Experimental team

Instrument Scientist
  • Laura Fazi
  • NAST Centre - University of Rome Tor Vergata
  • PostDoc