The MERLIN FE-SEM overcomes the conflict between image resolution and analytical
capability. The core of MERLIN is the enhanced GEMINI II column which, with
its double condenser system, achieves an image resolution of 0.8 nanometers.
A sample current of up to 300 nanoamperes is available for analytical purposes
such as energy and wavelength dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS and WDS), diffraction
analysis of backscattered electrons (EBSD) or the generation of cathodoluminescence.
The system supports the user with a wide range of detailed solutions for tasks
that could not be adequately performed in the past. The foundation for this
achievement has been laid by the Carl Zeiss "Complete Detection System". This
consists of the in-lens SE detector for surface imaging, the in-lens EsB detector
for material contrast and the AsB detector for widely dispersed backscattered
electrons. The latter contain specific information on the crystal orientation
of the sample.
The unique charge compensation system of MERLIN also allows the high-resolution
imaging of non-conductive samples. Electrons which accumulate on the surface
of the sample are swept away by a fine jet of nitrogen. In doing so, the complete
detection system of MERLIN can be used. An additional feature of the system
for charge compensation is a channel for pure oxygen enabling in-situ sample
cleaning. Within the vacuum chamber frequently occurring carbon deposits are
removed from the sample surface, thus producing a significantly crisper and
contrasty image. Both options allow the user to concentrate on the imaging and
analysis of the sample instead of investing time and money in sample preparation.
MERLIN's new electronic system permits a flexible instrument configuration.
Additional detectors can be retrofitted quickly, allowing the user to adapt
the system to growing requirements. In addition, this flexibility makes the
investment more future-proof and enables the user to benefit over the long term
from ongoing detector development.