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Nanounity unveils compact Scanning Electron Microscopes

The compact Pemtron SEM systems have been designed to bridge the gap between tabletop and full size tungsten SEMs
Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs) offer a valuable insight into semiconductor devices. With these systems, layer bonding quality and device sizes can be easily established.

Although the resolution of an SEM is nowhere near as good as that of the best Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEMs), SEM sample preparation is far easier and faster than for a semiconductor TEM sample.

Tabletop SEMs are inexpensive and easy to use compared to standard size SEMs.

However, they can have limited performance and capability such as small sample sizes, lower magnifications and have a lower resolution. Full sized SEMs would normally provide better imaging performance and more analytical capability but generally require more knowledge to operate and have a higher cost of maintenance.

Now Nanounity has tried to solve this problem with its new range of tabletop SEMs.

The firm says its Pemtron PS-230 and PS-250 SEMs address the gap between these two types of SEM producs. Nanounity maintains it is offering competitive prices compared with higher end tabletop SEMs, are easy to use and have a low cost of maintenance while equalling or exceeding the performance of a full size SEM.

Pemtron Compact Scanning Electron Microscope

In choosing to offer Pemtron’s products, Nanounity studied the market-place for SEMs. Describing what was found, Nanounity director, Brad Rangell, says, “We ran across many people who were evaluating or have recently purchased tabletop SEMs. Our observations suggest that many users have applications that require performance beyond a tabletop system. In many cases, the determining factor to buy a tabletop SEM is price. The user might have higher performance needs but, with a limited budget, is forced into selecting a system with added capabilities and options.”

Continuing, Rangell notes “At the other end of the scale, the full size tungsten SEMs may accept a variety of sample sizes and offer higher magnification and resolution. These systems usually offer a number of options such as motorised stages, low vacuum, sample airlocks and ports for external analytical devices. These options raise the purchase price and make the system out of reach to buyers with limited budgets. Full size SEMs are generally larger, take up more floor space, have special facilities requires and use water chillers to cool the lens. This ultimately raises the price and cost of ownership.”

The Pemtron systems provide a compact solution for SEM users combining the attributes of a full size SEM at approximately the price of a high end tabletop system. A PS-230 system has a 5-axis motorized stage, accepts larger samples and has higher magnification (up to 300,000x) and superior resolution (3 nm at 30 kV).

The cost of ownership is also reduced as Pemtron systems do not need a water chiller or have special facility requirements. Adding analytical capability is readily available as Pemtron offers compatibility with many industry-leading energy dispersive spectrometers (EDS) including those from Bruker, Oxford Instruments and EDAX. A back scattered electron detector (BSED) is also offered.

With extra ports, Pemtron systems are designed to accommodate in-situ techniques such as nanoindenters and nanomanipulators making the Nanounity offering versatile and cost–effective for the discerning electron microscopist.

Nanounity supplies surface science analytical solutions through a range of synergistic products through partnerships with leading instrumentation manufacturers. The core technologies are microscopy, metrology and spectroscopy.

Through the strong personal commitment of the founders, Nanounity has built a strong reputation in the USA and Asia.

Nanounity’s product profile delivers solutions to researchers, engineers and scientists in many disciplines including data storage, semiconductors and materials science. These tools include compact SEMs, correlative microscopy combining fluorescence imaging with SEM, optical profilers and nano-mechanical testing systems that incorporate nano-hardness testing with surface topography.

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