the Imaging Technology Group
the NASA and
the National Science Foundation
This is an interactive animation that illustrates the basics of imaging in the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). It displays images of the external and internal components of the microscope, then provides animations of the electron emission and capture processes. Finally, the tutorial discusses how the digital signal produced by the Secondary Electron Detector (SED) is converted into grayscale pixels on a computer screen.
This resource is part of the Virtual Microscope project, which provides cost-free simulated scientific instrumentation for students and researchers worldwide as part of NASA's Virtual Laboratory initiative. See Related Materials for links to additional animated tutorials on Atomic Force Microscopy and Fluorescense Light Microscopy.
6-8: 1C/M6. Computers have become invaluable in science, mathematics, and technology because they speed up and extend people's ability to collect, store, compile, and analyze data; prepare research reports; and share data and ideas with investigators all over the world.
3. The Nature of Technology
3A. Technology and Science
6-8: 3A/M2. Technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.
4. The Physical Setting
4D. The Structure of Matter
6-8: 4D/M9. Materials vary in how they respond to electric currents, magnetic forces, and visible light or other electromagnetic waves.
8. The Designed World
8B. Materials and Manufacturing
9-12: 8B/H4. Increased knowledge of the properties of particular molecular structures helps in the design and synthesis of new materials for special purposes.
9-12: 8B/H6. Groups of atoms and molecules can form structures that can be measured in billionths of a meter. The properties of structures at this scale (known as the nanoscale) and materials composed of such structures, can be very different than the properties at the macroscopic scale because of the increase in the ratio of surface area to volume and changes in the relative strengths of different forces at different scales. Increased knowledge of the properties of materials at the nanoscale provides a basis for the development of new materials and new uses of existing materials.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics. Urbana: Imaging Technology Group, 2007. NASA, and National Science Foundation. 26 July 2016 <http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/EM_tutorial/>.
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A highly detailed animated tutorial on light microscopy, including simple and compound microscope anatomy, polarized microscopy, darkfield, and fluorescent microscopy. Appropriate for AP physics or for a course in electricity and magnetism.