Scanning Microscopy


The scanning electron microscope (SEM) yields excellent topographic and other shape information and, when fitted with an energy dispersive system (EDS), elemental composition. The polarized light microscope (PLM) on the other hand, delivers information on the internal properties of small particles, fibers, and films. By determining optical properties as well as shape, PLM determines molecular, rather than elemental, composition. Both SEM and PLM have impressive records for problem solving in the research and development world and each is usually applied without aid from the other. Examples are given of important problems that have been solved by supplementary PLM with SEM and vice versa. These include forensic problems involving trace evidence characterization and identification. That cooperation between SEM and PLM has solved many crime laboratory problems as well as authenticity of art objects from Rembrandts to the Vinland map and "Turin Shroud".

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