A scanning electron microscope (SEM) is a type of electron microscope that produces images of a sample by scanning it with a focused beam of electrons. The electrons interact with atoms in the sample, producing various signals that can be detected and that contain information about the sample's surface topography and composition. The electron beam is generally scanned in a raster scan pattern, and the beam's position is combined with the detected signal to produce an image. SEM can achieve resolution better than 1 nanometer. Specimens can be observed in high vacuum, in low vacuum, in wet conditions (in environmental SEM), and at a wide range of cryogenic or elevated temperatures. Read more
Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS, EDX, or XEDS), sometimes called energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA) or energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDXMA), is an analytical technique used for the elemental analysis or chemical characterization of a sample. It relies on an interaction of some source of X-ray excitation and a sample. Its characterization capabilities are due in large part to the fundamental principle that each element has a unique atomic structure allowing unique set of peaks on its X-ray emission spectrum. Read more
Atomic-force microscopy (AFM) or scanning-force microscopy (SFM) is a very high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy (SPM), with demonstrated resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, more than 1000 times better than the optical diffraction limit. Read more
Profilometer is a measuring instrument used to measure a surface's profile, in order to quantify its roughness. Read more
Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy or ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry (UV-Vis or UV/Vis) refers to absorption spectroscopy or reflectance spectroscopy in the ultraviolet-visible spectral region. This means it uses light in the visible and adjacent (near-UV and near-infrared [NIR]) ranges. The absorption or reflectance in the visible range directly affects the perceived color of the chemicals involved. Read more
Confocal microscopy is an optical imaging technique for increasing optical resolution and contrast of a micrograph by means of adding a spatial pinhole placed at the confocal plane of the lens to eliminate out-of-focus light. It enables the reconstruction of three-dimensional structures from the obtained images. Read more
The optical microscope, often referred to as light microscope, is a type of microscope which uses visible light and a system of lenses to magnify images of small samples. Optical microscopes are the oldest design of microscope and were possibly invented in their present compound form in the 17th century. Basic optical microscopes can be very simple, although there are many complex designs which aim to improve resolution and sample contrast. Read more
The above nano-scale images are captured with the same tools available for your use (for education or outreach) via our remote access service. Each RAIN partner has samples available, which vary by location. If you have any specific items that you'd like to view during your session, let us know when requesting your session and we will provide you with shipping instructions.