Scanning Electron Microscopy


In scanning electron acoustic microscopy (SEAM) until now the signal generation is explained mainly by an intermediate production of thermal waves. Though this so-called thermal wave approach has proven to give realistic results for metals, from experimental evidence it seems to fail for other material groups such as ceramics, dielectrics, piezoelectrics and semiconductors. As these material groups are of major technological importance, it is necessary to develop theories which help interpreting those SEAM micrographs obtained for these types of material.

In a comparative manner three different models are discussed in this paper, the well known thermal coupling, the piezoelectric coupling and the excess carrier coupling. The relevant parameters for the signal formation are determined and the contrasts achieved in electron acoustic micrographs explained by means of these models. The experimental evidence discussed for all important material groups supports the three models significantly, and the results obtained can be interpreted quantitatively in terms of material properties and primary electron beam parameters.

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