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Phenom – The World’s Smallest And Most Affordable Scanning Electron Microscope

Phenom – The World’s Smallest And Most Affordable Scanning Electron Microscope

Phenom Scanning Electron Microscope (Images courtesy FEI Company)
By Andrew Liszewski

Playing with microscopes was one of the funner parts of high school biology but the zoom capability on those models was nothing compared to what a scanning electron microscope (or SEM) is capable of. But while some SEMs have given us our first glimpses at the atom their price tags don’t usually fit within a typical high school budget. An Oregon based company called FEI however is hoping to change that with a new type of SEM known as the Phenom that’s about the size of a large desktop computer and comes with a relatively affordable price tag. (When compared to previous models.)

The Phenom is capable of magnifying a specimen from 20X up to 20,000X with an image resolution of 2048×2048 pixels in about 30 seconds. Images are saved on a USB flash drive allowing them to be moved to other computers for more in-depth analysis. The machine and its controls are apparently very user friendly and only requires a few minutes training to produce cool images like the ragweed pollen sample seen above. This means that a facility investing in the Phenom also doesn’t have to pay a skilled operator in order to actually use the device.

Of course the $85,000 (EURO 62,000) price tag isn’t exactly cheap but for smaller research facilities or companies dealing with nanotechnology it’s probably more than worth it.

[ Phenom Scanning Electron Microscope ] VIA [ Popular Mechanics ]







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