Category: Philips XL 40 ESEM

ESEM in Electron Optics

ESEM Online

The turbo pump was successfully replaced and the ESEM is back online. I’m going to open the calendar for reservations. However, I may need to cancel appointments once the technician confirms their availability.

Please note, I am noticing some noise in higher mag images. We will be having a technician come in sometime in the next couple of weeks for routine maintenance and they will be looking into this as well. 


All reservations cancelled

As a result of Dr. Koubek’s email to campus regarding the Governor’s executive order, I am cancelling all use reservations in the calendar this afternoon.  We will be ready to begin again after we return from the stay at home 3 weeks from now.


IMPORTANT Saturating ESEM filament

We have made changes to the process of saturating the ESEM filament.  Now we use Scan>Horizontal Line and monitor that line as the Filament slider is changed.  Saturation occurs when the horizontal line stops increasing when the slide is increased.  The point when it stops increasing is saturation, so you may overshoot and have to slide it back slightly.  When you complete saturation return to Scan>Full Screen to stop the line.  Click Filament Limit as you usually would.  Any of you who learned to saturate the filament on the 6400 SEM will recognize this technique.

I want to show you how to do this so let me know when you’d want to see it done.  It is really easy and there is no ambiguity when setting saturation like using the “football”.  We will be making changes to the standard operating procedure.

This a a precise technique and the filament will last longer.


ESEM back online now

The ESEM is back online and ready to use.

I’m not certain what went wrong but I’m suspicious of the AZtec scan grabber. The AZtec software acquires an ESEM image by taking control of the ESEM scan hardware. When the scan is complete it should release the ESEM hardware. I have seen a few times that it doesn’t release. If you have trouble seeing a scanning ESEM image after acquiring with AZtec try to shut down the AZtec software and see if the scan returns. If it still down’t return contact me and I’ll take a look at it.


ESEM EDS detector alarm

EDS detectors works like a thermos bottle that slow liquid nitrogen evaporation. When the vacuum in the detector deteriorates the liquid nitrogen that cools the detector evaporates quicker. That is happening in the ESEM detector. We refill the detector twice each week but depending on the timing you might hear an alarm signaling that the liquid nitrogen is low. The alarm is a beep signal every few seconds. Here is the important part of this message – if you hear the alarm let me, Aleister or Liz know so we can refill it.

I will have the vacuum replenished in the summer when ESEM use drops.

Thanks, Owen