Advanced Materials & Processes, pp. 24-25, July 1995.

Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope

M. Li, K. Rogers, and C. Rust


Environmental scanning electron microscopy can be used to identify various interfacial defects in electronic packages.  The traditional scanning electron microscope (SEM), first commercialized in 1965, operates under high-vacuum conditions.  The secondary electron images of a specimen can reach nanometer resolution if the specimen is electrically conductive.  However, when characterizing a poorly conductive specimen, traditional SEMs are affected by surface charging.  To avoid this problem, the specimen must be coated with a conductive film such as carbon.  However, besides altering the surface slightly, this coating can also render the specimen unusable.

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