XEM for Ultra-eXtreme Magnification Electron Microscopy
After a collaborative effort with the JSM Institute¹ of Eindhoven, Netherlands to develop XEM, it is now possible to observe the nuclei of atoms with standard thermonic source SEM systems having only a few nanometer resolution (2nm to 5nm). As Figure 1 represents, the electron orbits and nuclei of a single “Silicone” atom can be observed at a display size of 10’s of millimeters or approximately 64,000,000X magnification based on the atomic diameter of 150 picometers for a “Silicone” atom.
Applying fundamental principles originally published in the March 1995 issue of A.I.R.², the XEM method makes liberal use of A.I. (artistic intelligence) and basic Fuzzy Math principles with a standard SEM image. The XEM method achieves magnifications at previously unimaginable levels and opens the door to potential investigation of sub-atomic Quacks.
The general concept of XEM is depicted in Figure 2 below. The method works by collecting an image at the best resolution possible with the electron microscope optics. The captured image is then printed and then enlarged using a standard photocopier at 200% or 2X. The enlarged copy is then used for subsequent enlargements. The process is repeated until the desired magnification is achieved. For an SEM image captured at 125,000X which about the maximum sensible display limit for a 3nm resolution on current display technology such as HD and QHD monitors, it takes only 9 enlargements to reach 64 MILLION times magnification.
An alternate technique simply involves using a projector at your local theater to project the image onto “the Big Screen” or IMAX. By projecting the image such that it fills the movie theater or IMAX screen, the XEM operator can simply go down front and measure the scale bar with a tape measure and the Magnification is simply that measured length divided by the scale bar value. You should realize around the same 64,000,000X magnification when using standard 3nm resolution W-SEM but unlike the Xerographic method above, you most likely will not see the Silicone electrons, protons and neutrons.
Research is currently being conducted with XEM combined with amateur telescopes to observe planetary systems around any star in the night sky. Astrologists and UFO enthusiasts worldwide are mobilizing efforts to apply this technique to the Hubble Space telescope in an effort to observe distant planetary inhabitants.
For more information on the XEM method, please request technical information on the Xerographic Enhanced Microscopy system at www.microscopy-for-dummies.com.
- Junk Science Marketing (JSM) Institute – North Brabant, Eindhoven, Netherlands
- AIR – Annals of Improbable Research – Xerox Enlargement Microscopy (XEM), AIR 1:2 (March/April 1995) – PDF
Disclaimer – this article is offered as a parody with sincere adulation of satirist Andy Borowitz of The New Yorker and journals like The Onion. It should serve as a “wake-up call” to the Microscopy Industry that a Standard Practice is needed for how SEM manufacturers determine and report Magnification. It is also intended to shed light on the over-stated magnification claims made by several respected Electron Microscopy manufacturers whose Marketing teams have apparently chosen to take advantage of the lack of an ASTM/ISO standard for Electron Microscopy magnification and not respecting sensible scientific principles in an effort claim specifications that cannot be supported by the RESOLUTION of the microscope. Are these Marketers doing this in an attempt to dupe the uninformed buyer or worse, pathetically emulating their competitors who are making similar dubious claims?
The following manufacturers in Table 1 are challenged to publish a raw, downloadable image file for their claimed maximum magnification shown. It is time to “Put up or Shut Up” – and stop making misleading claims in specifications. No Photoshop, averaging or stacking multiple scan passes allowed. Recommended sample is a widely accepted resolution standard known as “Gold Islands” or Gold-on-Carbon with smallest particles near or just below the stated SEM resolution. These type samples are available from any of the Electron Microscopy consumable suppliers listed here: https://elementpi.com/technology/microscopy-links.
None of the manufacturers in Table 1 currently offer images on their websites to support their maximum magnification claims. This post will be updated to link to those images if they are posted publicly as proof of capability. As shown in Table 1 below for SEM with resolutions above 2nm, they all have similar PRACTICAL magnification and the reviewer is encouraged to ignore the inflated values most manufacturers claim. Magnification beyond the PRACTICAL magnification limit shown below will NOT reveal any additional details and is akin to applying the aforementioned XEM method. Is it not prudent to be shown what you can expect to “see” at these inflated magnifications?
|Brand / Model||Resolution||Max MAG Claimed||Max MAG Practical ¹|
|Jeol JCM7000||10nm (??)||
|Zeiss EVO||3nm (W)||
|Hitachi TM-4000||10nm (??)||
|Thermo (FEI) Prisma||3nm||
 The Maximum PRACTICAL MAGNIFICATION is based on the Live or Direct SEM image magnified such that its resolution is displayed as a SINGLE PIXEL on a standard 27″ HD monitor having 1920 x 1080 pixel density. Image is not full screen and its size depends on the GUI of the SEM software.
 The CLAIMED magnification specification for these vendors is not “explained” in their marketing materials and is most likely based on some larger display size for the captured image, perhaps displayed as a static image at full screen on an unspecified monitor size apparently in an attempt to “out-spec” their competitors (using the XEM method perhaps??).
 These Brands are to be commended for providing 2 values for magnification – the first based on a traditional Polaroid size image and the second based on displaying a static captured image at full screen on a standard HD monitor (1920 x 1080) providing the customer a more realistic figure for possible magnification ranges. However, these upper magnifications still extend into the “empty” or “hollow” magnification range and should be ignored. This second magnification specification utilizes a variation of the XEM method but at least the brand clearly states upon what its specification is based.
[??] Estimated – these brands do not publish the SEM resolution. Wonder why? This table will be updated should the brand decide to make that information available.
We proudly offer the image in Fig. 3 from our Tabletop SEM having a 5nm resolution specification. This is the best that can be shown with 5nm resolution without digitally or falsely magnifying it further. Can the Tabletop SEM you are looking at match this?