Sample Stabilization for Imaging in the SEM
This chapter considers the ways by which it is possible to stabilize samples so they may withstand the alien environment inside the SEM in order to produce good images and, as shown in the next chapter, reliable analytical data.
The process of stabilization is frequently referred to as fixation. This is an ill-defined term; it is more appropriate to use the term stabilization as this more closely describes what is hoped to be achieved with the sample. Some samples need little or no stabilization as they are electrically conductive, radiation resistant, and unaffected by the high vacuum and arid environment inside the microscope column. In contrast, a wide range of samples are very susceptible to all four characteristic features of the inside of the SEM and, consequently, need careful stabilization. The total process of sample stabilization must also include charge elimination. This important topic is discussed in Chapter 11.
One of the many advantages of the SEM is...