Influence of Specimen Preparation on SEM Images and Comparison to LOM Images
SEM and LOM are sometimes viewed as competitive methods; but, they are actually complementary. Some people believe that specimen preparation is less critical for SEM work than for LOM work; but, the reverse is true. Image forming mechanisms for the LOM and the SEM are different – we should make the most of these differences. The LOM is a more efficient tool for fast, low magnification (≤ 2000X) examination of a specimen – use it first to determine if, and where, one should follow with higher magnification SEM examination and EDS or EBSD work.
Prepare every specimen for SEM examination with the quality required for EBSD work; this is actually quite easy with the right equipment, consumables and methods. Examples of preparation methods for many metals/alloys and other materials can be found in Struers publications and web site. Examples of LOM and SEM images of specimens that were properly prepared or poorly prepared will be shown.