In 1993, the first scanning electron microscope (Stereoscan 440 from Leica Cambridge, Ltd.) was acquired at the Erich Schmid Institute. In comparison with optical microscopes the SEM provided better resolution and larger depth of focus, which was significant for the research, especially fractographic studies being conducted at ESI. Initially, images were captured on photographic paper and later the SEM was upgraded with a computer unit. The need for better resolution and new developments such as automated Electron Back Scatter Detection were incentives to buy a second SEM in 2001, Leo 1525 (Zeiss). The field emission gun in combination with the unique Gemini-lens system from Zeiss allowed for the significantly better resolution required for the needs of cutting-edge material science research.

Filament type: Schottky emitter (W/ZrO)
Acceleration voltage: 0.3 – 30 kV
Typical system vacuum: ~3.10-5 mbar
Column vacuum: ~1.10-9 mbar


  • SE-detector (Everhart-Thornley)
  • Four quadrant back scatter detector 
  • InLens-detector


  • Orientation Imaging system (OIM)
  • Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometer (EDS)
  • Point resolution at best:   1.5 nm (at 20 kV)