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The SEM as a Metallographic Tool

Influence of Preparation on Image Quality

Back-scatter electron images of as-polished 2205 duplex stainless steel shows the improvement in image quality by using the best preparation methods.

Image Contrast Modes

  • EmissiveMode – low-energy secondary electrons (come from the surface to ~10 nm depth)
  • ReflectiveMode – higher-energy backscattered electrons (come from a much greater depth)
  • AbsorptiveMode – detect signal flowing through the specimen to ground (inverse of BSE image)
  • X-RayMode – characteristic x-rays generated by the incident beamto show the distribution of elements at, and slightly below, the surface.


The articles and presentations that can be down-loaded from this web site are based upon work done by GFV while employed at Bethlehem Steel (1967-1983), Carpenter Technology (1983-1996), Buehler Ltd. (1996-2009) and Struers (2009-Present) and from the authors consulting work for companies such as, Latrobe Steel, Scot Forge, etc., and from his litigation work. GFV's bylined articles appearing in various issues of the ASM Handbook series have been listed here courtesy of ASM International, Materials Park, Ohio.