Scanning Electron Microscopy


The paper surveys experimental and theoretical work on secondary electrons released by primary electrons with energies greater than 100 eV with regard to electron microscopy and microanalysis. The secondary electron emission is a rather complex phenomenon: 1) The interaction of energetic primary electrons with material and the excitation of electrons of the solid into higher energetic states, 2) The transport of the electrons to the solid-vacuum interface, 3) The emission of secondary electrons over the surface barrier into the vacuum.

For the interpretation of scanning electron micrographs especially the secondary electron yield is important, the escape depth of the secondary electrons and the contribution of the backscattered electrons to the yield. The yield depends on the material of the surface and on the angle of incidence. The investigation of the fine structure in the energy distribution of the secondary electrons released on clean surfaces is necessary for the theories, e.g. the production of secondary electrons by plasmon decay.

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