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Hitachi High-Technologies in Canada

Hitachi SU9000 UHR FE-SEM

The Cold Field Emission (CFE) source is ideal for high-resolution imaging with a small source size and energy spread. Innovative CFE Gun technology contributes the ultimate FE-SEM with superior beam brightness and stability, affording high-resolution imaging and high-quality elemental analysis. Unique object lens design has a capability of EELS and diffraction as well.

doi:10.1017/S1431927616003871, Microsc. Microanal. 22 (Suppl 3), 2016, © Microscopy Society of America 2016


Hitachi's premium UHR FE-SEM, the SU9000, features unique electron optics with the sample positioned inside a gap of the split objective lens pole piece. This so-called true in-lens concept-combined with the latest generation of Hitachi's cold-field-emission technology-guarantees the highest possible system resolution (0.4 nm @ 30 kV, 1.2 nm @ 1 kV) and stability.

Image from the Hitachi SU9000
Sample : ArF Resist
Vacc : 500 V
Signal : SE image
No beam deceleration

To make this resolving power usable in practical work in your lab, the SU9000 utilizes an ultra-stable side-entry sample stage similar to high-end TEM systems and incorporates optimized vibration damping and a closed cabinet to shield the electron optics from environmental noise. Furthermore, the clean vacuum concept of the SU9000 offers a one order of magnitude better vacuum level in gun and sample chamber than the previous generation, minimizing sample contamination artefacts (effective pre-observation cleaning of samples itself can be achieved by Hitachi's ZONESEM sample cleaner).

In addition to pure, unsurpassed resolution, the SU9000 is equipped with a remarkable 2+2 detection system for sample surface, composition, and transmission observations.

The combined use of the patented Super ExB filter with the first upper detector allows users to filter and collect the SE and LA-BSE signal energies of interest, thereby suppressing charging artefacts and showing topographical details; the top detector selectively receives HA-BSE signal, providing topography-free information of material and crystallographical orientation differences. This signal-selection technology makes the SU9000 also a preferred system for catalyst and other areas of research as well as for biological and pharmaceutical immunolabeling applications when used in combination with a crygenic sample holder.

The SU9000 is also an incredibly powerful low-kV STEM, often exhibiting higher contrast on critical sample features than high- energy S-TEM systems. In addition, simultaneous Brightfield and annular Darkfield imaging is possible, with the Darkfield detector settable to 56 different positions for an optimized selection of Z-contrast of the pattern of interest.

Examples of images from the Hitachi SU9000 FE-SEM

The stunning stability of the SU9000 allows a guaranteed STEM resolution specification of 0.34 nm, enabling the observation of graphite lattice fringes, for example, in a carbon nanotube.

SU9000 CNT lattice fringes
Sample : Multi-wall carbon nano tube (lattice fringes)
Vacc : 30 kV
Mag. : 2,000 kx
Bright Field(BF)-STEM image

Sample : Graphene (lattice fringes)
Vacc : 30 kV
Mag. : 3,000 kx
Bright Field(BF)-STEM image



Acceleration Voltage

0.5-30kV  (0.1kV steps)

SE Image Resolution

0.4nm (30kV, sample height 1.0mm, 800kx)  

1.2nm (1kV, sample height 2.0mm, 250kx) 

STEM Image Resolution

0.34nm (30kV, sample height 0.0mm, Lattice Image)

Magnification (LM)

Magnification (HM)

80 - 10000x (on Photo), 220 - 25000x (on Display)

800 - 3x106(on Photo), 2200 - 8x106 (on Display)


Side entry goniometer

Stage traverse

X: ± 4.0, Y: ± 2.0, Z: ± 0.3 (mm)
T: ± 40°

Standard Holder

Bulk: 5.0x9.5x3.5H (mm)

Cross-section: 2.0x6.0x5.0H (mm)

Dedicated Holder

Cross-section specimen: 2.0x12.0x6.0H (mm)

Double tilt cross-section: 0.8x8.5x3.5H (mm)


  • Super-high SE resolution of 0.4 nm at 30 kV
  • Usable magnification up to 3,000,000x
  • Newly designed CFE gun provides high brightness and extremely stable emission current.
  • Superior low kV performance for observing beam sensitive materials.
  • Next-generation Hitachi In-Lens SEM optics allows for routine observation at 1,000,000x.
  • Improved vacuum technology that allows for UHV levels for reduced sample contamination.
  • Highly engineered instrument enclosure featuring both superior strength and stability to afford high-resolution imaging in a broad range of environmental conditions.
  • Newly designed objective lens provides for high-resolution imaging at low acceleration voltage.
  • Side-entry sample-exchange system increases throughput by reducing the time required to change samples and by automatically positioning the sample at the current working distance (WD).

In-lens SEM

In 1986, Hitachi released the world's first commercial in-lens FE-SEM model aptly named the S-900. Sub-nanometer imaging capability at the time was revolutionary launching more than 1,000 units installed in Japan and abroad.

History of Hitachi In-lens SEM

The evolution of the model S-900 continued with the S-5000 in 1990, S-5200 in 2000 and the S-5500 thereafter in 2004 setting new standards with each introduction in the electron microscopy community. In 2011, Hitachi celebrated its 25th anniversary of in-lens FE-SEM technology, and continuing in its innovative and revolutionary tradition, introduced the latest and the most powerful high-end in-lens FE-SEM model the SU9000!


High-Resolution, Analytical STEM/SEM Providing Simultaneous Chemical and Bonding Analysis, Atomic Resolution, and Surface Imaging at 30kV and below

Investigating samples with the full capabilities of STEM at 30 keV and below is an extremely interesting and rapidly growing area of research: providing both Materials and Life Sciences with full SEM and STEM, inclusive EDX, and EELS capabilities, at low voltages. Less beam damage and higher contrast are the key arguments for the Low-Voltage STEM (LV-STEM), a capability that has been out of reach for researchers globally. With the LV-STEM, its low beam energy, increased contrast, and narrow energy spread, investigations of biological material in an unstained condition are becoming a reality for the first time.

Since the STEM unit has no imaging lens after the sample, electrons that were inelastically scattered by the sample do not really worsen image quality (they do for TEM). The significance of the lack of chromatic aberrations after the sample increases with decreasing electron energy; samples that typically would require a 100-keV TEM, at the very least, can be investigated with low-keV STEM. Multi-scattering processes and absorption of course still appear-ultimately limiting the acceptable thickness of the specimen. However, the use of high-end specimen preparation techniques, or working with thin samples as is typical in nano-research fields, allows 30-keV STEMs to cover much of the areas of conventional higher-keV TEMs, while at the same time, providing surface information through standard SEM methods, including SE, BSE, and high-angle BSE.

The well-established cold FEG of Hitachi's high-end SEMs is a tremendous benefit for EELS capabilities as well as the point resolution of STEM. Despite the unusually low voltage for EELS and the increased impact of environmental conditions on low-voltage electrons, we are able to demonstrate better than 400-meV FWHM (full width half maximum, see Figure 1, left) for the ZLP (zero loss peak) of EELS, allowing clear and crisp EELS data for fine structure investigations. For example, eliciting the tiny changes in the π bonding for the Graphene as layer after layer is added demonstrates the sensitivity of the LV-STEM (see Figure 1, right). The LV-STEM also has a 2nd dedicated EELS detector with 3 elements, allowing the rapid (10,000 fps) acquisition of energy-filtered BF STEM images, Plasmon images, or the rapid collection of elemental maps. Switching between both detectors is easy and relies on Hitachi's own unique design.

The LV-STEM feature (Figure 2) complements SE imaging and makes no compromise. Typical images taken at 30 keV without a Cs corrector or Cc corrector approach 0.2-nm resolution establishing the LV-STEM as the true performance leader for ≤ 30 keV microscopy. The importance of simultaneously acquiring STEM and SE data is demonstrated in Figure 3.

As this microscope can handle samples up to 5.0 mm × 9.5 mm × 3.5 mm, the optional windowless EDX detector supports the analysis of both thin and bulk areas. At an incredible collection angle of 0.7 sr, acquisition times for EDX maps are short (see details in Figure 4), making the LV-STEM a truly ground-breaking microscope for both Materials and Life Sciences applications.


R.F. Egerton, "Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy in Electron Microscope", Springer, New York
K. Suenaga et al., Nature, Vol.468 (2010), 1088-1090
G. Algara-Siller, O. Lehtinen, A. Turchanin and U. Kaiser, (2014). Appl. Phys. Lett., 104, 153115.
The authors wish to thank Dr. Tsuyohiko Fujigaya, Kyushu University for providing the samples.

LV-STEM measurement by using Hitachi EELS
Figure 1 Left: despite the low (± 30 keV) energy of these electrons, the energy spread of the electron beam, measured by our own Hitachi EELS is 400 meV or less:. Right: EELS spectra differentiating between single , double and triple layers of graphene , graphite, diamond, and amorphous carbon.

The low-pass-filtered BF STEM of Graphene at 30 keV
Figure 2 The low-pass-filtered BF STEM of Graphene at 30 keV shows a resolution of close to 0.2 nm; the 0.142 nm atom distances are not resolved.

High-resolution 30-keV BF STEM image in combination of SE image
Figure 3 Left: The high-resolution 30-keV BF STEM image by itself makes it difficult to model its 3D structure. Right: Only in combination with the (simultaneously acquired) high-resolution SE image, the real structure of this sample becomes obvious and modeling this structure as a 3D model would be quite manageable.

Elemental EDX map (Au M) at 30 kV
Figure 4 Elemental EDX map (Au M) at 30 kV, The size of the nano-particles is in the range of 5-10 nm. Acquisition time is 3.5 min at a current of 1 nA

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