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published by the Imaging Technology Group
supported by 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.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Editor's Note: See Related Materials for a link to the Virtual Microscope home page, with instructions for downloading free software to view and manipulate datasets produced by the project's high-resolution microscopes. Don't miss the links to additional animated tutorials on Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Fluorescence Light Microscopy (LM).
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
General Physics
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= Electronic Equipment
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
- Nanoscience
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- Chemistry
- Engineering
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Tutorial
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Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
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Intended Users:
Learner
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Formats:
application/flash
text/html
video/shockwave
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 2007 Imaging Technology Group
Keywords:
SEM, SEM tutorial, electron microscope, instrumentation, microscopy, microscopy tutorial, nanotechnology
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created February 11, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
February 17, 2013 by Caroline Hall

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1C. The Scientific Enterprise
  • 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

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model
Unit Title: Microscopy: Observing at the Nanoscale

This animated tutorial illustrates the basics of SEM, scanning electron microscopy. View the internal & external components of the microscope, then explore how it uses electron emission and capture to create an image. Finally, watch as the animation shows how the digital signal is converted into grayscale pixels on a computer screen.

Link to Unit:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
(Imaging Technology Group, Urbana, 2007), WWW Document, (http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/EM_tutorial/).
AJP/PRST-PER
Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics, (Imaging Technology Group, Urbana, 2007), <http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/EM_tutorial/>.
APA Format
Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics. (2007). Retrieved September 19, 2014, from Imaging Technology Group: http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/EM_tutorial/
Chicago Format
NASA, and National Science Foundation. Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics. Urbana: Imaging Technology Group, 2007. http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/EM_tutorial/ (accessed 19 September 2014).
MLA Format
Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics. Urbana: Imaging Technology Group, 2007. NASA, and National Science Foundation. 19 Sep. 2014 <http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/EM_tutorial/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics}, Publisher = {Imaging Technology Group}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {19 September 2014}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%T Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics
%D 2007
%I Imaging Technology Group
%C Urbana
%U http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/EM_tutorial/
%O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2007
%T Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics
%I Imaging Technology Group
%V 2014
%N 19 September 2014
%9 application/flash
%U http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/EM_tutorial/


Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics:

Is Part Of Virtual Microscope

Link to the main website of Virtual Microscope, which includes instructions for downloading the software for sharing datasets produced by the group's scanning and probing microscopes.

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Virtual Microscope: Light Microscopy Basics

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.

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Virtual Microscope: Scanning Probe Microscopy Basics

An animated tutorial that describes how scanning probe microscopes work to "read" the surface of nanoscale samples and provide image data.

relation by Caroline Hall
Supplements TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope

This lesson suggests a physical model to help secondary students comprehend how a scanning probe microscope works to "read" the surface of nano-scale samples.

relation by Caroline Hall

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