Enviromental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM)




The Electron Microbeam Instrumentation in the Dept. of Geological Sciences at the Jackson School includes an Environmental Scanning Electron Microprobe (ESEM) Phillips/FEI XL30 (installed Fall, 2001) with an Electron Backscattered Diffraction Detector (EBSD) (installed in 2006). The primary function of this entire instrument is to produce images of surface features at very high magnifications (100X to 100,000X) under variable states of vacuum in the specimen chamber, allowing us to observe samples (even wet ones) under conditions more similar to those in which the sample existed in nature (“environmental” conditions). Operated in ESEM mode it is possible to observe specimens in hydration states extending to 100%. Because conductive coatings are not required, the ESEM is also of great interest for looking at visible light generated in crystals by the electron beam (cathodoluminescence, CL). Standard “high vacuum” SEM operation is also an option. Detectors include a light element EDS detector and a Gatan CL detector with RGB color filtration for observation of near-true luminescent color. The ESEM is located in the Department of Geological Sciences. Additions of the EBSD expanded the utility of this instrument for studies in structural geology and petrology. The existence of this instrument with its unique combination of detectors and potential for a variety of research projects.



This ESEM accommodates a wide range of sample types. Small rock chips, grain mounts, and thin sections are all possible.