Hacked Gadgets Forum

March 24, 2011

DIY Scanning Electron Microscope

at 10:24 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment, What Were They Thinking

There are lots of electronic projects that can be made at home but I would have never thought I would see a Scanning Electron Microscope that was made at home! The results are able to be watched on an oscilloscope. The comments of the article are great also and worth a read.  You can see the system in operation in the video at 9:53.

Via: Make

“The lock washer is only being magnified 10 or 20x. In this test video, I wasn’t too concerned with focus, so the resolution is probably 50um or more. Eventually, I hope to achieve resolution of about 1um. I will probably experiment with different objective lens placement, final aperture size (currently 100um), deflection plate placement, etc.

I originally wanted to use a microprocessor to generate the raster scan pattern and capture the data for storage/display on an LCD. I may still do this, but there are a few problems: finding a microprocessor with enough RAM to store the image matrix, using a DAC to generate the raster scan pattern at live video rates, and interfacing with a nice LCD (ie generate SVGA video). The Parallax Propeller seems like it might work, but needs a lot of development.”


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4 Responses to “DIY Scanning Electron Microscope”

  1. Stan Says:

    What vacuum level do you need for operation in torr?

  2. ElectroNick Says:

    The glass bell jar seems to have a rather crude seal that would hold something between 28 and 29 (if lucky) inches vacuum. Sorry, I’m really bad at calculating vacuum level in torrs. There is a point around 13 minutes into the video where the author describes the vacuum system (boiling oil evacuation) except he does not mention the levels. It would seem to me that with a seal like this a simple vacuum pump could have been used. I’ve achieved something like 28.8-29.0 with a Harbor Freight small vacuum pump (constantly running tho – so it’s not for long) but I’m not sure what level is needed for this particular project and for how long.

    My remark about the seal aside, this is probably the coolest DIY project I’ve ever seen! Due to all the electron beams/oscilloscopes equipment, if fashioned in a steampunk style, it would have been an instant hit at Maker fairs (if it can be moved that is)
    Amazing job indeed!

  3. Stan Says:

    28 29 inches of mercury? That’s almost atmospheric pressure. (I see you mean the inverse) With my rotary vacuum pump alone I can achieve less than 1mm (~1 torr). For an e-beam to travel that distance without hitting a gas molecule you need even lower pressure and with that diffusion pump you can get down to .0001 mm of mercury or less. However your right, with a seal that’s questionable, those levels may not be attainable. There is also the issue of out-gassing from various materials and – grime and grease, fingerprints, etc. – on the parts that can hamper reaching a “hard” vacuum.
    Now all he needs is to build a sputter coater! 🙂
    Yes I too agree this is the coolest project I have seen in a while, I always wanted to try this and I was told I was nuts. I’m glad I’m not the only nut around. I definitely going to start on building one. I have build lasers so I have some of the equipment already.

  4. DIY Scanning Electron Microscope! Says:

    […] via hackedgadgets, Project Page […]

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