Category Archives: Research

What is an SEM?

scent scale
Large white butterfly (Pieris brassicae) scent scale which disseminates pheromones to attract a mate. Magnification x1628 at 10cm wide. SEM

I asked my husband Andrew, to explain exactly what is an SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) and how does it work.  I thought it would be of interest to those of you out there who are a bit technical and curious.  The SEM is a very much used tool, especially in the realms of research.  Without it research work would be very limited and we would not be as far forward in knowledge as we are today.

So here’s a list of the main types of microscopes that are out there:

  • LM (Light Microscope) which uses light.
  • SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) using electrons
  • TEM (transmission electron microscope) using electrons.
  • CFM (Confocal Microscope) which uses laser light.
  • STM (Scanning Tunneling Microscope) using atomic forces.
  • ATM (Atomic Force Microscope) also using atomic forces.

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