A handful of ingenious scientists and engineers, in developing scanning electron beam instruments, have revolutionized the characterization of microstructures in material research. Like an adventure game, the development of the scanning electron microscope (SEM), the electron probe microanalyzer, and the analytical transmission microscope includes tales of war and conquest, of genius and intrigue, of simultaneous and (perhaps not so) independent discoveries, and of strange and bizarre failures. The future perspectives of this art would be worthy of a science fiction story.
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