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Oxford University Press Christoph J. Brabec and M. Skip to content. Abstract The continuous emergence of electron optics, detectors, and other fields of science has opened an entirely new class of experiments in materials characterization.


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Read full chapter. Dirk Knaust, in Developments in Sedimentology , Scanning electron microscopy SEM provides a useful means in ichnology and is typically combined with other techniques, such as resin casting or thin sectioning.

Handbook of Sample Preparation for Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis

Because of its high level of resolution, microscopical trace fossils or trace-fossil parts can be studied in detail, for instance, microbial fossils within trace fossils Gong et al. Thomsen and Vorren used SEM, energy dispersive X-ray, microprobe, and X-ray diffractometer to study the composition of pyritized Trichichnus -like burrows. An introduction to SEM and related techniques for geologists is given by Reed Michael J.

In SEM, a finely focused electron beam is rastered or scanned over the sample. The interaction of the energetic incident electron beam and the sample produces backscattered electrons, secondary electrons, and X-rays. By measuring the flux of one of these types of particles as a function of raster or scan position, an image or map of the sample can be reconstructed and displayed. Each type of particle conveys different information about the sample and, therefore, offers a different contrast mechanism.

For instance, secondary electrons carry information about sample topology see Fig. Backscattered electrons carry information about average atomic number of the area being imaged and can be used to quickly detect spatially resolved phases of contrasting chemical composition. SEM photomicrographs of the interdicted uranium powder shown in Figure The morphology of the powder was consistent with a hydroxide precipitation process probably KOH.

Novak, Mark G. Johnson, in Biochar from Biomass and Waste , Thus, collecting SEM images is a common tool for understanding biochar surface properties. Images were collected of the lignocellulosic-based biochars produced from pine chips Fig. The gross-scale SEM images of the biochars revealed large differences in the parent feedstock structural properties.

The fibrous nature of this pine-based biochar is similar to the SEM images reported by Cetin et al. Figure 3. On the other hand, SEM images of switchgrass biochar shows remnants of the individual cell walls inside the grass fiber Fig. Similarly, pores in switchgrass biochars were also observed in the SEM images reported by Pilon and Lavoie and Bayan These pores were speculated to be important mechanisms at improving total water retention by trapping H 2 O in a sandy soil Novak and Watts, Switchgrass is also a popular feedstock for biochar production and subsequent usage as a soil amendment since it has been reported to reduce nutrient leaching Ippolito et al.

The SEM images of the two manure-based biochars revealed a contrasting surface morphology compared to the lignocellulosic-based biochar. Similarly, Spokas et al. Spokas et al.

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For these two manure-based biochars shown here, the particles are probably salts excreted from animals during manure production. This would explain the rich mineral composition in the manure-based biochars Table 3. Joseph et al. Particle accumulation was theorized to be due to ions from the dissolved salt being attracted to sites involved with redox reactions and due to electrostatic interactions with electron dense regions Joseph et al.

Handbook of Sample Preparation for Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis

SEM images of biochars produced from parent poultry-litter feedstock A and B and parent swine-solid feedstock C and D. Scanning electron microscopy SEM is a technique that provides high-resolution electronic images of the surface of different materials by scanning with an electron beam. In addition, the contrast of the images provides information about the composition of the surface sample, as its different elements emit different amounts of characteristic electrons.

The analytical technique of energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy EDS , which allows obtaining information about the elemental surface composition based on X-rays emitted from different points of the surface of the sample, is commonly used together with SEM. Thus, the imaging capabilities of the SEM coupled with the elemental analysis provided by EDS can be used to acquire both chemical and physical information from the sample.

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Furthermore, as is shown in different studies, this methodology provides nondestructive, rapid and highly selective analysis for the individual components of the surface examined. Kennedy et al. In the case of contaminated soils, it can also be used for assessing bioavailability, remediation potential and source of pollution Kennedy et al.

More recent studies have also shown the effectiveness of this technique for identifying soil solid phases that retain pollutants Arenas-Lago et al. As an example, Liao et al. They found that As immobilization may be associated with the formation of Ca-As and Fe-As precipitates while Pb and Cu immobilization was most probably linked to calcium silicate hydrates and calcium aluminum hydrates. Nevertheless, it only provides qualitative results on the association between the PHEs and the soil surface and, as is mentioned in the previous section, the results provided by microscopy can be rounded out using other methods such as fractionation based on sequential extractions Asensio and Covelo, ; Yu et al.


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Scanning electron microscopy SEM has been used to produce secondary-electron images of synthetic samples of jarosite group minerals Gasharova et al. Pitted surfaces and rounding are indicative of chemical weathering, with variations between horizons Taylor et al.

Microstructure characterization by Scanning Electron Microscopy

Weathering of inherited zeolites may result in the appearance of alteration products such as halloysite Taylor et al. De Graef, Marc. Introduction to conventional transmission electron microscopy. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, Eberhart, J. Structural and chemical analysis of materials: x-ray, electron and neutron diffraction; X-ray, electron and ion spectrometry; electron microscopy. New York : Wiley, Egerton, R. Electron energy-loss spectroscopy in the electron microscope 2nd ed.

New york : Plenum Press, Fultz, B.

European Microscopy Society

Transmission electron microscopy and diffractometry of materials. New York : Springer, Goldstein, J. Scanning electron microscopy and x-ray microanalysis 3rd ed. Goodhew, P. Electron microscopy and analysis.

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