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Three Dimensional Scanning Electron Microscopy (3D SEM)

Three Dimensional Scanning Electron Microscopy (3D SEM) Testing Technique

3D SEM combines the high resolution imaging of SEM with quantitative surface metrology information.

Sets of stereoscopic SEM images are produced using the eucentric tilt capability of the sample stage.  The 3D SEM software identifies homologous points on the images which belong to the same point on the sample.  In this way the true three dimensional coordinates of all pixels within the image are calculated to generate a 3D model of the sample.  The 3D data set can be used to generate a wide range of metrology information from the sample including:

  • High resolution height maps, 3D images and movies to illustrate the surface topography
  • Profilometry - Measurement of feature heights / depths on the nm - mm scale using line profiles
  • Calculation of surface roughness parameters e.g.  Ra, Sa, Sq, Sz, Sp, Sv
  • Measurement of void and protrusion volumes, radius of curvature and fractal dimensions.

Typical Applications

  • Characterization of surface defects, stains and residues on metals, glasses, ceramics and polymers
  • Monitoring the effect of acid erosion on human tooth enamel
  • Measurement of micro-detail on wear scars and engineered metal surfaces
  • Measurement of the effect of treatments on human skin texture using replication methods.

Typical Industries using 3D SEM

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Healthcare
  • Medical Devices
  • Printing
  • Packaging
  • Semiconductors
  • Electronics.

3DSEM - At a Glance

  • Information: Surface metrology and roughness parameters
  • Area Analysed: From ~1cm x 1cm to ~100nm x 100nm
  • Imaging: Yes
  • Image Resolution: In the range 1µm - ~50nm in X, Y and Z planes, depending on sample
  • Data Output: Height maps, line profiles, 3D images and movies