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Hitachi

Scientific Instrument NEWSHitachi High-Tech GLOBAL

SU3800/SU3900 Feature Both Operability and Expandability

―Equipped with Extra-Large Chamber and Heavy-Sample Stage―

Masanari Furiki

Introduction

For the dual objectives of (a) accommodating samples of large sizes and heavy weights, and (b) improving ease of operation by automating the measurement process and enabling wide-area camera navigation, we have recently added two new models to Hitachi’s lineup of scanning electron microscopes (SEMs): the medium specimen chamber model SU3800 and the extra-large specimen chamber model SU3900.

Fig. 1 Hitachi’s new scanning electron microscopes SU3800 (left) and SU3900 (right).
Fig. 1 Hitachi’s new scanning electron microscopes SU3800 (left) and SU3900 (right).

SEMs are used in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and many other industrial sectors for a wide range of observational and analytical purposes, from visualizing the fine-grained structure of substances to identifying their composition. As the range of SEM applications broadens to encompass new fields and new objectives, the need to observe samples of large sizes and heavy weights—including automotive components and industrial materials such as iron and steel—has been increasingly problematic due to limitations posed by SEM sample stages on the sizes and weights of samples, which have often required samples to be cut into smaller pieces or otherwise processed before mounting for observation.
In addition, recent years have witnessed a growing need to control the fine-grained structure of various types of materials in pursuit of enhanced functionality and improved performance, whereupon the range of practical uses for SEM technology has broadened beyond conventional R&D applications to encompass areas such as quality assurance and manufacturing process controls—fields in which SEMs are used with increasing frequency. These developments have created a need for improved ease of operation to reduce the practical burden shouldered by SEM operators.
The SU3800 and SU3900 are designed both to facilitate observation of large, heavy samples and to offer improved ease of operation. In particular, the SU3900, as Hitachi High-Tech’s extra-large chamber model, is equipped with our largest-class sample stage—of diameter 300 mm(*1) and maximum sample weight 5 kg (2.5 times heavier than previous-generation models(*2))—allowing observation of large samples with no need for cutting or other sample processing. Moreover, the measurement process following sample mounting—from electron-beam irradiation to image adjustment—has been automated to allow acquisition of SEM images immediately after the start of observations, enabling a speedy observational workflow.
Also, the task of searching for a target field of view—for which conventional instruments use a single color image captured by optical camera—is streamlined by our camera navigation technology, in which the sample stage is rotated to capture multiple partial images of the sample, which are then stitched together into a composite whole image to facilitate field-of-view searching for wide-area observation of large samples.

Key features

Accommodation of large, heavy samples

Both new instruments offer an increase in maximum mountable sample size. The SU3800 is equipped with a specimen chamber of diameter 200 mm, accommodating samples of height up to 80 mm and weight up to 2 kg. The SU3900, as Hitachi High-Tech’s extra-large chamber model, is equipped with our largest-class specimen chamber, of diameter 300 mm, accommodating samples of height up to 130 mm and weight up to 5 kg, 2.5 times heavier than previous-generation models(*2).

Fig. 2 An example of an observation involving a large sample (height 130 mm)
Fig. 2 An example of an observation involving a large sample (height 130 mm)

Wide-area observations

  • The maximum observable range is 130 mm diameter for the SU3800 and 200 mm diameter for the SU3900.
  • SEM MAP functionality allows moving a field of view simply by specifying a desired observation region on the guide screen.
  • Multi ZigZag system creates wide-area images by stitching together multiple high-magnification images captured automatically with different fields of view.

Fig. 3 Using wide-area SEM MAP to select the field of view
Fig. 3 Using wide-area SEM MAP to select the field of view

Improved automation features to enhance ease of use

  • Automation of the observation procedure—from electron-beam irradiation to various types of image adjustment— allows observations to begin immediately after sample mounting. For image adjustments, the waiting time required for automated functionality to complete has been reduced to less than 1/3 that of previous-generation models(*3).
  • The operational condition of the filament is automatically monitored and controlled, with Intelligent Filament Technology (IFT) software providing estimates of when a replacement will be needed. Interruption of observations in progress due to end-of-filament-lifetime may be avoided, even for continuous observations over long time intervals and wide-area observations for particle analysis.

Support for multi-purpose large specimen chambers and a full range of accessories

  • The use of external stages such as sample-heating stages, sample-cooling stages, and stretching/compression stages allows in-situ observation of dynamic variations in sample state.
  • New STEM holder converts transmitted scattered electrons into light for UVD detection, allowing easy observation of STEM sample fragments.

Fig. 4 Observation of a copper slab using the heating stage. Left: room temperature. Right: 350°C.
Fig. 4 Observation of a copper slab using the heating stage. Left: room temperature. Right: 350°C.

Fig. 5 Observation of carbon nanotubes using the new STEM holder. Left: Bright-field STEM image. Right: Backscattered-electron image.
Fig. 5 Observation of carbon nanotubes using the new STEM holder. Left: Bright-field STEM image. Right: Backscattered-electron image.

Key Specifications

Item SU3800 SU3900
Secondary-electron image resolution 3.0 nm (Accelerating voltage 30 kV, high-vacuum mode)
15.0 nm (Accelerating voltage 1 kV, high-vacuum mode)
Backscattered-electron image resolution 4.0 nm (Accelerating voltage 30 kV, low-vacuum mode)
Accelerating voltage 0.3-30 kV
Magnification ×5-×300,000 (photograph magnification),
×7-×800,000 (true display magnification)
Sample stage X: 0-100 mm, Y: 0-50 mm,
Z: 5-65 mm, T: −20°-90°,
R: 360°
X: 0-150 mm, Y: 0-150 mm,
Z: 5-85 mm, T: −20°-90°,
R: 360°
Maximum mountable sample size 200 mm diameter 300 mm diameter
Maximum observable range 130 mm diameter (used with R) 200 mm diameter (used with R)
Maximum sample thickness 80 mm (WD=10 mm) 130 mm (WD=10 mm)
Maximum sample weight 2 kg 5 kg (without T/R)
(*1)
Identical to the S-3700N, Hitachi’s previous-generation large-scale SEM.
(*2)
As compared to the S-3700N previous-generation model. The comparison involves only weight limitations for in-plane motion of the sample stage.
(*3)
As compared to the S-3700N previous-generation model.

About the author

Masanari Furiki
Metrology and Analysis Systems Division
Nano-Technology Solution Business Group
Hitachi High-Tech Corporation

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