Tabletop SEM EDS – EM-30 Series

The EM-30 Series of Tabletop SEM with EDS expands the capabilities by including an integrated EDS (Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy) detector for performing microanalysis of elemental composition.

Please visit the EM-30 Series page for details about the SEM specifications and capabilities.

EM-30 SEM Series Details

The EM-30 Series Tabletop SEM with EDS has 3 choices for EDS as shown below – Bruker Nano, Oxford Instruments or EDAX.  Other Tabletop SEM manufacturers typically offer only their own proprietary EDS that has limited capabilities, often poor performance and usually very slow mapping.

By using one of these preferred EDS brands, the EM-30 Series insures that you will produce compatible data to full-size SEM’s.  The data files are portable between platforms.  The learning curve is also minimized as the software is often the same or very similar to that used on full-size SEM systems.

Advanced options available:
STEM DetectorCooling StageAnti-Vibration table


EDS Micro-Analysis Options for EM-30 Series Tabletop SEM EDS

Bruker Xflash EDS for Desktop SEM EDS

Bruker EDS for Tabletop SEM

Xflash® 630 EDS for Tabletop SEM with 30mm² SDD and Esprit Compact software

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Oxford AZtec EDS for Desktop SEM EDS

Oxford Xplore EDS for Tabletop SEM

Xplore Compact SDD EDS for Tabletop SEM with 30mm² detector and Aztec Software

More Info >>>

EDAX Element EDS for Desktop SEM EDS

EDAX EDS for Desktop SEM

Element SDD EDS for Desktop SEM with 25mm² detector and APEX™ Software

More Info >>>

Imaging Capabilities





1 – 30 kV

Beam Energy

Auto XYT

Sample Positioning


Imaging Detectors

EM-30 SEM Series Details

Configurations and Available OPTIONS for the EM-30 Series 

EM-30 Series Configurations

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Cold Stage and Critical Point Dryers (CPD) for Benchtop SEM

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Anti-Vibration Supports for Desktop SEM

Vibration Isolation Platforms

Vibration Isolation platforms assist high magnification imaging by suppressing ambient vibrations.

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Specifications for EM-30 Series Tabletop SEM+EDS

    5nm (30kV, SE Image)
    8nm (30kV, BSE Image)
Accelerating Voltage
    1~30kV (in 1kV steps)
    Variable - 30 / 50 / 100 / 200 micron (T and N models)
    Variable - 15 / 20 / 30 / 50 micron (C models)
    Variable e-Beam Spot Size
    Secondary Electron Imaging (SE)
    Backscattered Electron Imaging (BSE)
    Scanning Transmission Electron detector (STEM) - optional
Electron Source
    Pre-centered Tungsten Filament Cartridge (T and N models)
    -- (supplied with 8 Wehnelt/Filament sets)
    Pre-centered Cerium Hexaboride (CeBix) Cartridge (C model)
Automatic Functions
    Auto Start, Auto Focus
    Auto Contrast & Brightness
    Auto Electron Gun Alignment
Magnification (Live)
    15X~200,000X (LIVE Display)
    up to 500,000X (Saved Image)
Live Focus Image Sizes
    RED: 320 x 240 (30 frames/sec)
    TV: 640 x 480 (10 frames/sec)
    SLOW: 800 x 600 (2 frames/sec)
Image Capture Sizes
    1280 x 960
    2560 x 1920
    5120 x 3840
Image Formats
Image Annotation
    2-point length
    multi-point length
    angle measurement
    diameter measurement
    area measurements
    arrow/rectangle marking
    text annotations
Stage Traverse
    Automatic 3-axis System (X, Y, T)
    X-axis : 35mm
    Y-axis : 35mm
    Z-axis : 5~50mm (manual)
    R-axis : 360° (manual)
    Tilt-axis : 0~45°
Navigation Modes
    Optical NavCam
    Sample Holder Map
    e-Beam Position Indicator
    Tilt Assist Mode
Maximum Sample Size
    70mm in Diameter or XY
    50mm in Height
Vacuum Modes
    High Vacuum (Conductive)
    Low Vacuum Charge Reduction (optional - T and N models)
    Manual Variable Pressure Option
Roughing Vacuum Pump
    Rotary Vane Pump
    Diaphragm Pump (optional)
High Vacuum Pumps
    Pfeiffer HiPace Turbo Molecular Pump
    Ion Pump (C model)
Main Unit
    400(W) x 600(D) x 550(H)mm, 85kg

Why Tabletop SEM?

Since their introduction to the microscopy market around 2005, Tabletop SEM’s as they have come to be known, are now widely considered a highly useful microscopic analytical tool.  They are utilized by many research and quality assurance laboratories.  Companies and research groups that previously never thought to acquire an SEM due to the cost, infrastructure and specially trained personnel required to operate them, are now finding Desktop SEM systems to be a cost effective solution capable of providing the imaging, morphological and elemental analysis capabilities they require while simultaneously being very easy to use by multiple members of their technical staff.

In fact, these Tabletop SEM’s have even found their way into many STEM outreach programs around the country for the valuable educational awareness they offer.  Being easy to use, even middle school children with supervision are now operating electron microscopes in science programs across the country thanks to the admirable efforts of electron microscope suppliers.

Buyers of Scanning Electron Microscopes are faced with many decisions regarding microscope capabilities as they relate to the eventual cost of the system.  Beyond the initial acquisition cost depending on the type of microscope, there may also be significant on-going costs for maintenance, service costs for the tool, the cost of facilities and even specially trained operation personnel.

Entry Level Tabletop BSE only XY Only under 60,000X $50K to $60K
Intermediate Tabletop BSE XY Only 100,000X $60K to $70K
High End Tabletop BSE and SE XYT or more 150,000X $70K to $80K
Tabletop with EDS BSE, SE and EDS XYT or more 150,000X $100K to $125K
Entry Level Floor Model BSE and SE XYZRT 300,000X $95K to $120K
Entry Floor Model + EDS BSE, SE and EDS XYZRT 300,000X $130K to $160K

The original Tabletop SEM’s introduced around 2005 like the Hitachi TM-1000 or the original FEI Phenom G1 were not viewed with much respect by experienced electron microscopists due to their limited capabilities.  Today, current Tabletop SEM offerings have closed this gap with higher beam energies and resolutions approaching those of full-size tungsten filament systems.

The gap between capabilities of these compact, personal Tabletop SEM’s and full-size SEM systems has grown much smaller.  For example, our EM-30 series with its 5nm resolution, variable apertures, motorized X-Y-Tilt stage, 30kV beam energy and full-featured EDS has practically equivalent capabilities to several full-size SEM’s, especially older model systems that are becoming obsolete or are not supported such as Amray, Cambridge, ISI, Topcon, Leo, Philips/FEI – as well as older models from Hitachi and JEOL.

It is generally accepted that around 80-90% of scanning electron microscopy imaging work is done at magnifications less than 10,000X.  This is easily within the range of any SEM on the market today.  All of these systems are practical for many industrial quality analysis and many research efforts with each system possessing their own unique capabilities. The challenge facing you the buyer, is determining which system best suits your needs for the sample types and method of utilization you will undertake.  We recommend you request our article “10 Points to Consider when Buying an SEM” that you can locate from this BLOG POST.

Likewise, when high magnification is necessary, the buyer must be cautious regarding the marketing claims as pertains to the SEM’s ability to see nano-sized features of samples. The sample itself and how it can be prepared are often the limiting factor in what ultimate magnification is possible regardless of the microscope.  The SEM resolution, spot size and scanned image capture size will most often be a more important specification to compare as these play a direct role in what effective magnification is possible.  The prospective buyer is encouraged to witness the magnification of “live” images as well as “captured” images as the resolution and size of display monitors factor into the true capabilities.  Some Tabletop SEM’s are marketed with a magnification claim that does not equate to a resolution necessary to achieve such a magnification.  Pay close attention to this combination of resolution and magnification. All SEM systems reach a level of “hollow” magnification where further detail present in a sample cannot be observed due to the limitation of the microscope’s resolution.  Resolution of the microscope and its ability to provide imaging showing detail at the smallest scale is usually much more important than ultimate magnification.

Tabletop SEM systems (scanning electron microscope) are widely used for a variety of microscopic analysis of biological, inorganic and man-made materials.  All Scanning Electron Microscopes utilize a focused beam of electrons to scan the surface of a sample to collect a 3-dimensional image. Imaging detectors allow surface or topographical analysis (SE – secondary electrons) as well as composition analysis (BSE – backscatter electrons) and elemental chemistry analysis (EDS – energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy).

Unlike conventional, full-size scanning electron microscopes with large chambers, critical vacuum requirements and stringent ambient requirements, a Tabletop SEM can easily sit on a desktop or lab bench in a standard lab or industrial environment right beside other analytical instruments with no special requirements.  The only utilities required are standard AC power and a small, quiet roughing vacuum pump.  No special cooling, air conditioning, or foundation is necessary.  When users wish to reach the highest magnifications, a vibration isolation table or support might be advisable due to ambient conditions in some environments.

Applications for SEM include Life Science (Biology, Forensics, Pharmaceuticals, Medical) and Material Science (Semiconductors, Geology, Metallurgy, Nanotechnology). These compact Tabletop SEM’s are also used when portability is required to take the analytical tool to the sample and obtain reliable imaging and other analysis on-site.  Many labs using full-size SEM systems and busy core electron microscopy centers, are finding these small Tabletop SEM’s very useful for reducing backlog or for pre-checking a sample to locate features of interest prior to using valuable time on much more expensive systems.

Contact Us for more information or to arrange a demonstration.