Enviromental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM)
Contact: Dr. Donggao Zhao
Phone: 512-471-1177 (O), 512-471-4949 (lab)
Location GEO 5.106B
Installed in the fall of 2001, this instrument has a wide range of electron
scanning capabilities. Just like a conventional scanning electron microscope (SEM),
the Environmental SEM, produces images of surface features at very high
magnifications (100X to 100,000X). The ESEM however does not require high vacuum
in the specimen chamber, allowing us to observe samples (even wet ones) under
conditions more similar to those in which the sample existed in nature
(“environmental” conditions). Operated in ESEM mode it is possible to observe
specimens in hydration states extending to 100%. Because conductive coatings are
not required, the ESEM is also of great interest for looking at visible light
generated in crystals by the electron beam (cathodoluminescence). Standard “high
vac” SEM operation is also an option.
Detectors include a light element EDS detector and a Gatan cathodoluminescence
detector with RGB color filtration for observation of near-true luminescent
color. An EBSD detector was installed summer 2006.
Like the SEM, the ESEM accommodates a wide range of sample types. Small rock
chips, grain mounts, and thin sections are all possible.