Scanning Electron Microscopy


Direct ion imaging is a strong point of the CAMECA IMS 3f ion microscope, but has undergone little commercial development. A modified image acquisition system is presented which incorporates a high sensitivity video camera allied with a rapid image digitizer/processor. Individual ion impacts on the channel plate are detected at maximum gain and image sensitivity is effectively increased to that of the mass spectrometer. For intermediate (103 to 105) and low (<103) count rates image processing such as averaging or integration is essential to improve the poor detection statistics and allow real time image formation. Rapid image processing means that ion micrographs are immediately ready for interpretation or storage on a suitable medium. The improved instrument performance is illustrated from the point of view of materials science research: the routine use of an optimum lateral resolution, imaging at high mass resolution (M/𝛥M = 20,000), improved imaging for insulating samples, trace element/molecular ion imaging and high quality images suitable for rapid transfer to an image analyzer for detailed quantitative analysis.

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