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published by the Imaging Technology Group
supported by the NASA and the National Science Foundation
This is an interactive animation that illustrates the basics of imaging in the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). It displays images of the external and internal components of the microscope, then provides animations of the electron emission and capture processes. Finally, the tutorial discusses how the digital signal produced by the Secondary Electron Detector (SED) is converted into grayscale pixels on a computer screen.
This resource is part of the Virtual Microscope project, which provides cost-free simulated scientific instrumentation for students and researchers worldwide as part of NASA's Virtual Laboratory initiative.
Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Editor's Note: See Related Materials for a link to the Virtual Microscope home page, with instructions for downloading free software to view and manipulate datasets produced by the project's high-resolution microscopes. Don't miss the links to additional animated tutorials on Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Fluorescence Light Microscopy (LM).
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
1. The Nature of Science
1C. The Scientific Enterprise
3. The Nature of Technology
3A. Technology and Science
4. The Physical Setting
4D. The Structure of Matter
8. The Designed World
8B. Materials and Manufacturing
11. Common Themes
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model
Unit Title: Microscopy: Observing at the Nanoscale
This animated tutorial illustrates the basics of SEM, scanning electron microscopy. View the internal & external components of the microscope, then explore how it uses electron emission and capture to create an image. Finally, watch as the animation shows how the digital signal is converted into grayscale pixels on a computer screen.Link to Unit:
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Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics:
Is Part Of Virtual Microscope
Link to the main website of Virtual Microscope, which includes instructions for downloading the software for sharing datasets produced by the group's scanning and probing microscopes.relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Virtual Microscope: Light Microscopy Basics
A highly detailed animated tutorial on light microscopy, including simple and compound microscope anatomy, polarized microscopy, darkfield, and fluorescent microscopy. Appropriate for AP physics or for a course in electricity and magnetism.relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Virtual Microscope: Scanning Probe Microscopy Basics
An animated tutorial that describes how scanning probe microscopes work to "read" the surface of nanoscale samples and provide image data.relation by Caroline Hall
Supplements TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope
This lesson suggests a physical model to help secondary students comprehend how a scanning probe microscope works to "read" the surface of nano-scale samples.relation by Caroline Hall
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