SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1970

Use of the Scanning Electron Microscope in the Materials Sciences


The scanning electron microscope is a relatively new instrument now finding rapidly growing use in the materials sciences. It scans a fine beam of electrons across the specimen surface and displays an image of that surface on a cathode-ray tube using any of the radiations that are generated by incident electrons. The characteristics of each of the images that can be formed using the different signals available are described, as well as its particular use for different types of specimens.

Many types of materials specimens can be examined in the scanning electron microscope with no preparation, but to obtain optimum results it is often necessary or desirable to coat the surface with a thin conductive layer. This and other steps of specimen preparation and handling techniques for solid and powder samples are outlined. Finally the interpretation of the various types of images and the dynamic observation of changes produced in the specimen by heating, straining, etc., are considered.

Author Information

Russ, JC
ASTM, Medford, Mass.
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Developed by Committee: E04
Pages: 214–248
DOI: 10.1520/STP32082S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4591-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0747-2