The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) facility at the Department of Physics has two FEI/ThermoFisher scanning electron microscopes for high-resolution imaging, metrology and surface characterisation. Analytical capabilities include energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS/EDX).

FEI Quanta Inspect S

The Quanta Inspect S is a user-friendly SEM with an intuitive modern software interface. It is capable of imaging a wide variety of specimens with minimum preparation, including metals and alloys, geological samples, ceramics and composites. A dedicated low-vacuum mode enables charge-free imaging of non-conductive specimens, including plastics, glasses and fibres. Detectors are available for secondary electrons and for backscattered electrons, providing the ability to image either surface topography or phase distribution.

FEI Quanta 600 FEG

The Quanta 600 FEG extends the capabilities of the Quanta Inspect S by providing higher resolution imaging and an Environmental SEM mode. In environmental (ESEM) mode the temperature of the sample, and the relative humidity and pressure of its environment are closely controlled, which allows the imaging of out-gassing and hydrated specimens. This enables information to be obtained on the structure and composition of soft materials, including polymers, pharmaceuticals, and plant material that would normally be incompatible with the high-vacuum environment of an SEM chamber. Dynamic in-situ experiments are possible, including closely controlled hydration/dehydration studies and SEM observations at high temperatures.

The instrument also incorporates an Oxford Instruments EDS detector which can identify the chemical elements in a specimen and provide quantitative compositional analysis and spatial elemental mapping.

We provide training for researchers to use our equipment and we welcome enquiries from across the University of Oxford and beyond, including from commercial and industrial users.


Facility Manager

+44 (0) 1865 272392