A powerful tool used to produce high resolution and magnification images of sample surface and near-surface topography

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyzes materials, particles, surfaces and fibers so that fine details can be observed, assessed, and measured. Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) can also be utilized to provide elemental information and identification. Coupled together, SEM and SEM/EDS provide a powerful means for industry to resolve contamination issues, investigate component failure, identify unknown particulates or study the interaction between substances and their substrates.

Our skilled team of scientists at Intertek use SEM/EDS to examine:

  • Films & Packaging
  • Coatings
  • Minerals & Chemicals
  • Materials (Metals, Polymers, Ceramics & Composites)
  • Semi-Conductors
  • Catalysts
  • Surfaces & Cross-sections
  • Contaminates
  • Residue
  • Dust & Debris
  • Unknown Substances

We use SEM/EDS to analyze for:

  • Morphology (Shape)
  • Surface Texture
  • Elemental Composition
  • Visualization
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate & Unknown Identification
  • Layer Thickness & Composition
  • Delamination
  • Inclusions, Second Phases & Voids
  • Microstructure
  • Corrosion
  • Surface Pitting

SEM Instrument Capabilities




Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy

Sample Size


Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscope (VP-SEM)

25x – 10,000x

Secondary Electron, Backscatter Electron

Silicon Drift Detector

Up to 35 mm height, 200 mm width

High Vacuum, Low Vacuum (1-200 Pa)

Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM)

25x – 800,000x

Secondary Electron (In-Lens and E-T), Backscatter Electron (YAG-BSE), Transmitted Electron

Silicon Lithium Detector

Up to 15 mm height, 150 mm width

High Vacuum

Remote View Scanning Electron Microscopy Services
Remote View SEM enables real-time interaction with the analyst and instrument allowing direct examination of failures, surface features, and particle shapes in order to accelerate critical decision making in support of failure or quality investigations or product development.

Scanning Transmission Electron Detector (STEM)
Use of a scanning transmission electron detector (STEM) allows the laboratory to form images using electrons passing through a thin sample.

Industry specific questions that SEM/EDS can help answer:

  • What is this unknown material I found?
  • What is this residue on my product?
  • How do I determine if the coating on my product is intact or has voids?
  • What does my material look like at the micro level?
  • Does my material have any surface texture?
  • What is the size and shape of the particles in my powder?
  • How thick are the layers in my sample?

Additional In-house Expertise:

Intertek Allentown hosts a wide variety of analytical techniques and instruments. Our analysis plans can be adjusted to answer any questions that come up during the analysis process. Some examples of how our integrated approach can help you:

Contact Intertek