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Improved SEM Images of Composite Ceramics

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000046434D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-07
Document File: 1 page(s) / 11K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hinkel, H: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

An extremely thin carbon layer is generated in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) on the surface of locally isolating samples to prevent a build-up of surface charges deteriorating the image quality.

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Improved SEM Images of Composite Ceramics

An extremely thin carbon layer is generated in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) on the surface of locally isolating samples to prevent a build- up of surface charges deteriorating the image quality.

Composite ceramic materials are often composed of electrically conductive as well as non-conductive components. With such materials, a very thin surface carbon layer is sometimes sufficient to generate conduction paths to ground for surface charges by forming conduction bridges between grains of the conductive component. It is therefore not necessary to cover the whole sample surface with a relatively thick layer of conductive material, which may adversely affect the sample properties and the image quality.

The carbon layer is easily generated within the SEM enclosure by cracking carbon hydrates which are always present on the sample surface. For that purpose, the SEM vacuum is slightly lowered and the sample subjected to a high-current scanning electron beam for about l5 minutes. This is followed by the usual SEM procedure.

The proposed method is non-destructive and yields images of excellent quality.

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