Today Carl Zeiss announces
a series of launches covering a range of product and application innovations.
The start of this series is marked by the next-generation analytical field emission
scanning electron microscope - the MERLIN™. This instrument combines the
up to now contradictory requirements of ultra-high resolution imaging and analytical
capabilities. "Customers have a need for more than just high resolution
images of their samples", Dr. Dirk Stenkamp, Member of the Board at Carl Zeiss
SMT explains. "With unique analytical capabilities our instruments provide maximum
information with maximum insight".
MERLIN™ – analysis and high resolution in one
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.
"The new MERLIN, as well as the just recently introduced AURIGA CrossBeam
workstation perfectly embody what our products stand for: Maximum Information
– Maximum Insight", Stenkamp points out. "And – the
market can expect much more in the coming weeks until M&M show and the European
Microscopy Conference in Graz, Austria, end of August."