The TM-1000 Tabletop Microscope from Hitachi High-Technologies is measurably kinder to the environment than the company's previous entry-level scanning electron microscope. As part of an evaluation across Hitachi's range of consumer, commercial and scientific products, measurements have been made in terms of contribution to the prevention of global warming and use of resources.
The TM-1000 is a highly popular microscope which is an ideal tool for the inspection of a host of different samples, since it offers excellent depth of focus and high resolution yet no sample preparation is required. This simplicity of operation has extended the usage for the TM-1000 from specialized microscopists to school- children in the classroom, bringing high quality microscopy to a much wider group of people.
The Hitachi Group's aim is for its products to increase the quality of life for users within their sphere of operation, whilst reducing their environmental impact. The latter is measured by comparing the efficiency of global warming prevention and efficiency of resource usage between the current product and the product it is replacing.
The calculations take into account a number of different factors, but key contributors are power consumption and the mass of material used in the units.
The power consumption of the TM-1000 is 80% lower than the previous entry level SEM, Lower power consumption means less electricity is required and therefore less CO2 (a contributor to the 'greenhouse' effect) is produced at the power station to run the instrument. The reduction in power consumption results from the miniaturization of the unit and the use of a permanent magnet instead of an electromagnet in the electron optical system.
The mass of the TM-1000 is 78% lower compared to the previous model.
This again results from miniaturization and a redesign of the microscope's vacuum system, which now no longer requires a cooling water system.
This awareness of the impact of scientific instruments on the environment will also be applied in future electron microscope developments.