Forensics and Materials

The scanning electron microscope (SEM) is one of the most powerful and useful tools for material analysis. SEMs use electrons rather than light waves to examine surfaces, permitting much greater magnification, resolving power and depth of field. SEM analysis provides us with high resolution imaging at magnifications up to 300,000X.

SEM analysis allows us to examine and characterize particles and nanoparticles, fracture surfaces, surface morphologies, composites and their constituents, and microstructures of prepared cross-sections.

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Forensics and Materials SAI Forensics and Materials

SEM Capabilities

  • High resolution SEM imaging
  • Material characterization
  • Fractured surface analysis
  • Polymer cross-section analysis
  • Particle and surface morphology studies
  • Particle size distribution determination
  • Contamination analysis
  • SEM/EDS elemental mapping
Testing Forensics and Materials

Field Emission SEM

The Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM) is configured similarly to a conventional SEM, except that a field emission electron source is used, allowing higher resolution imaging, increased signal to noise ratio, and increased depth of field.

An FE-SEM source produces electrons by applying a high voltage to a very sharp point and extracting the electrons directly, only from the point. The coherence and very small diameter of this source increases the useful magnification of the SEM by a factor of ten

Analytical Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) is primarily used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of organic compounds, and also for determining the chemical structure of many inorganic materials.

FTIR Capabilities

Materials Evaluation and Identification

  • Organic compounds
  • Inorganic compounds
  • Forensics
  • Material homogeneity

Failure Analysis

  • Micro-contamination identification
  • Material Delamination
  • Corrosion chemistry

Quality Control Screening

  • "Good" to "bad" sample comparison
  • Evalation of cleaning procedure effectiveness
  • Comparison of materials from different lots or vendors

How it works

Because chemical bonds absorb infrared energy at specific frequencies (or wavelengths), the basic structure of compounds can be determined by the spectral locations of their IR absorptions because chemical bonds absorb infrared energy at specific frequencies (or wavelengths). The plot of a compound’s IR transmission vs. frequency is its “fingerprint,” which when compared to reference spectra identifies the material. FTIR spectrometers offer speed and sensitivity impossible to achieve with earlier wavelength-dispersive instruments. This capability allows rapid analysis of samples down to the micron level, making the FTIR unmatched as a problem-solving tool in materials analysis.

The FTIR microscope accessory allows spectra from a few nanograms of material to be obtained quickly with little sample preparation, resulting in more data at lower cost.

FTIR microscope

In some cases, thin films of residue are identified with a sensitivity that rivals or even exceeds electron or ion beam-based surface analysis techniques. There are few sample constraints; solids, liquids and gases can be accommodated. Many contaminants present on reflective surfaces such as solder pads or printed circuitry are readily analyzed in situ using the FTIR microscope in reflectance mode.

With the addition of FTIR to our analytical capabilities, our scientists can now provide you with complete forensic and materials analyses. Join the ranks of our growing list of satisfied customers who choose quality.

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