Zeiss EVO 15LS scanning electron microscope applications

The Zeiss EVO 15LS analytical scanning electron microscope is a very versatile instrument suited to diverse imaging and analytical functions.


Imaging the polished and carbon-coated surface of rocks and minerals

This is the most frequent application, done before detailed composition analysis is performed. Backscattered electron images (BEI) are the most common pictures taken. They show variation in composition across the sample as different grey tones.

Composition analysis can then be performed using the Cameca SX100 electron microprobe.

See an example BEI showing sample composition variation

Imaging fine surface detail

This can be done for conductive or metal-coated specimens, including biological ones. Other microscopes suitable for this application are the LEO 1455VP and the Philips XL30.

See a biological specimen image example

Looking at the complex surface of samples that are large, rough and unprepared

This type of imaging is ideal for examining important museum specimens where their preservation is vital as it doesn’t damage their surface.

See an example image of a large, unprepared sample

Creating stereo pair images

These can be used for colour anaglyphs or even 3D models whose size and shape can be measured.

See an example digital elevation model

Identifying minerals

The EDX detector is routinely calibrated for analysis of major elements in silicates, the most common rock-forming minerals, and can very rapidly give information necessary for mineral identification.

See an example of polished section mineral analysis

Analysing composition

The microscope can be controlled automatically by the EDX detector computer and can be programmed to make maps of large areas of the sample. These show differences in composition across centimetre-scale areas and allow measurement of areas. 

See an example elemental map of a polished section

See an example showing X-ray mapping of an enquiry or museum sample

See example quantitative mineral abundance measurements

Analyses can be taken at pre-selected locations, and the program can hunt for particles of interest.

See an example showing identification and composition analysis of small grains

If elements are present at very low concentrations or the EDX cannot separate their signals the WDX detector can be used to create spectrum scans. The Cameca SX100 electron microprobe also has WDX detectors.

See an example comparison of WDX and EDX spectrum scans

Creating cathodoluminescence images

The cathodoluminescence detector can be used to create images from light emitted by a sample. The images can be used to gain information about the history of mineral deposition and crystal growth.

See cathodoluminescence image examples

Backscattered electron image of a polished meteorite specimen
Examples of Zeiss EVO 15LS SEM applications

Discover real-life examples of how the Zeiss EVO 15LS SEM microscope can be used – from fine surface detail images of specimens, to digital elevation models, to elemental maps and mineral identification.