Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Services


The world around us is far more than meets the eye. Everything in our lives — from our bodies to everyday items— are filled with things too small to see.

With a resolution of nanometers, scanning electron microscopes (SEM) offer a unique perspective, revealing microscopic details that would otherwise go unnoticed.

IIA’s ThermoFisher Axia ChemiSEM allows us to zoom in for an up-close view of the materials that comprise our world.

With our new SEM equipment, IIA can obtain high-quality images and take accurate measurements at a very small scale. The equipment also features a larger chamber to accommodate bigger samples. Particularly useful for failure analysis, scanning electron microscopy allows us to examine fracture features at high magnifications to determine the fracture mode (fatigue, overload, corrosion-related, etc.). Additionally, elemental compositions of very small regions or samples can be determined via Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS).

Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS) Applications

When an atom is hit with the SEM’s electron beam, it releases an X-ray with a signature wavelength. Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS), or elemental microanalysis, is a method that measures these X-rays to determine chemical composition of the sample.

Our new SEM is optimized for speed and accuracy in EDS applications, including but not limited to:

  • Corrosion Residue Analysis: EDS can identify the presence of chlorine, sulfur, and other elements to aid in determining the source of corrosion.
  • Material Analysis: EDS is a helpful tool when dealing with extremely small samples that are not large enough for other chemical analysis techniques.
  • Inclusion Analysis: EDS is a fast and accurate method to determine the composition of inclusions — small, non-metallic particles found in metal.
  • Elemental Mapping: The Axia ChemiSEM is optimized for fast, high-resolution elemental maps, showing regions of elemental segregation.
  • Phase Mapping: The Axia ChemiSEM can process elemental maps into groups of elements in regions, showing different phases or sets of material compositions within a sample.

Equipment Features & Capabilities

ThermoFisher Axia ChemiSEM

Large Chamber Size, Sturdy Stage:

  • Max sample size with full XY movement – 5.4 inches/138 mm
    • Larger samples possible with limited travel/rotation
    • Max sample weight of 22 lbs/10kg (with limited stage travel)

Integrated EDS:

  • Allows for fast and accessible EDS results

Area Mapping:

  • Stitches of adjacent areas to create a single, zoomable image of large fracture surfaces

Low Vacuum Mode/Beam Deceleration:

  • Reduces charging of non-conductive specimens to assist analysis

Live Backscatter, Live EDS Mapping:

  • Identifies regions of elemental contrast that might otherwise be overlooked

Your One-Stop Shop

With roots that date back nearly a century, IIA has grown to become one of the largest and most trusted providers of lab services in North America. Our ISO-accredited testing labs provide timely, accurate results, using a wide variety of test equipment and experienced personnel. As a full-service provider, our capabilities include metallurgical, non-destructive, dimensional, mechanical, EMC/EMI, consumer goods, calibration, environmental and chemical analysis.

Learn More

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