Earth Sciences


Scanning Electron Microscope Laboratory

The VPSEM Laboratory houses a Leo-Zeiss 1450VPSE variable pressure electron microscope equipped with an EDAX Genesis 4000 XMS SYSTEM 60 energy-dispersive spectrometer. EDS has sapphire detector with ultrathin window, digital signal processing, X-ray mapping, digital imaging, and standardless quantification.


Specifications on the Leo-Zeiss SEM include:

Resolution 3.5nm @ 30kV (Tungsten)
Magnification 9x to 900,000x
Acceleration Voltage 200V to 30kV
Probe Current 1pA to 1uA Optibeam controlled
Variable Pressure 1Pa to 400Pa
Detectors VPSE, Everhardt Thornley Secondary Electron, BSE
Chamber 300mm x 270mm x 224mm
5 axis motorised stage X=100mm, Y=125mm, Z=55mm, T=0 to 90 deg, R= 360 deg
Image Processing Up to 3072x2208 sq pixels with noise reduction
System control Leo32 with Windows 2000, with mouse and keyboard


The laboratory is equipped with sample preparation facilities that include a Denton Vacuum DCP-1 Critical Point Dryer and a Desk II Plasma Coater with a Au/Pd target.

The VPSEM Laboratory is operated within the Department of Earth Sciences but is used by several Departments on campus. At present, on-campus and off-campus users are charged per hour for daytime (supervised) use. SMU graduate students are exempt from these fees if they have no external sources of research support. Commercial (for-profit) users are charged per hour. Rates are adjusted occasionally to reflect increasing costs.

Contact Us

Those interested in services provided by the VPSEM Laboratory should contact:

Roy Beavers