Toward quantitative scanning electron microscopy

Mohamed M. El-Gomati*, Christopher G H Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) continues to play an important role in the advancement of our understanding of high-resolution imaging of solid surfaces. But, the instrument has the disadvantage of it being fully or semi-quantitative using either of the two most basic signals obtained; secondary and backscattered electrons. The study of the backscattering and secondary electron emission from metals continues to reveal a new understanding of the behavior of low-energy electrons in metals. It is clear from the results reported that the secondary electron emission in metals is influenced considerably by the secondary electron inelastic mean-free path. This can lead to an explanation of the apparent correlation between the secondary electron coefficient of a metal and its work function. The results also show that contamination effects need to be taken into account if there is any attempt to be made at quantifying SEM measurements, particularly when using low-energy electrons, as is the case with studies of small dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Imaging and Electron Physics
Number of pages40
ISBN (Print)9780128002650
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Publication series

NameAdvances in Imaging and Electron Physics
ISSN (Print)10765670


  • Auger electron spectroscopy (AES)
  • Backscattering coefficient
  • dopant contrast
  • energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS)
  • scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • secondary electron yield

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