Scanning Electron Microscopy | SEM Analysis Services


SEM Analysis (Scanning Electron Microscopy) consists of concentrating a focused beam of high-energy electrons, which generates a number of signals at the surface of solid specimens: metals, polymers, or composites. These signals, which are gleaned from electron-sample interactions, relay important information about the sample, such as texture, microstructure, the processes performed on the material during manufacture, and whether the material meets the needed specifications to ensure optimal durability in the intended application.

SEM Analysis is performed quickly and the microscopes used in this process are able to generate data in a sophisticated digital form. 

SEM Analysis is used in research, quality control, and characterization for several industries including semiconductor manufacturing, biology, nanotechnology, forensics, geology, and materials science. 

Benefits of SEM Analysis

Sample Versatility 

SEM can analyze a variety of materials, including powders, solid materials, coatings, biological specimens, and fibers.

3D and High-Resolution Imaging 

High-Resolution imaging provides a detailed visualization of surface features and a 3D representation of the sample surface is created by capturing many images at different angles. 

Elemental Analysis 

Elemental composition is revealed by using EDS (energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) or WDS (wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) detectors. EDS analysis is used to supplement the high resolution, high depth of field images with as elemental analysis of the materials in the image field.

For more information on IMR's SEM capabilities, or to request a quote, click on the buttons below.

Desktop computer with close-up SEM image for metallurgical analysis
Black and white SEM image of coating and substrate sample for metallurgical examination.
Extreme close up from SEM microscope for metallurgical examination


Alpha Case
Case Depth
Certified Weld Inspections
Coatings Evaluations
Coating Thickness by XRF, SEM, Cross Section
Case Depth
Depth of Decarburization
Determination of Delta Ferrite Content
Determination of Volume Fraction by Point Count
Effective Case Depth
Failure Analysis
Fastener Discontinuities
Fluorescent Impregnation of Porous Coatings
Fracture Mechanics
Grain Size
Inclusion Content/Rating
Intergranular Attack
Intergranular Oxidation
Light Microscopy - Macro, Micro & SEM Photography
Machining Evaluations
Microhardness (Knoop, Vickers, MacroVickers)
Orientation in Microstructure
Particle Analysis (Distribution, ID, Size)
Phase Volume Determination
Pipeline Integrity
Plating Evaluations
Plating Thickness
Porosity of Metals, Ceramics & Composites
Prior Austenitic Grain Boundary Determination
Replication (ASTM E1351)
Quantitative Image Analysis
SEM Analysis
Surface Evaluation (Dubpernell Active Site Test ASTM B456 Appx 4)
Surface Topography
Thermal Spray Coating Analysis
Titanium Beta Transus Determination
Weld Qualification & Testing

SEM Imaging and Analysis

There have been many advances in SEM technology due to improvements in lens design, high-brightness electron sources, new detectors, and electronic signal processing. There are many different types of scanning electron microscopes designed for specific purposes ranging from routine morphological studies to high-speed compositional analyses. 

SEM Imaging: Custom Solutions

If your needs for SEM analysis transcend conventional testing protocols, contact us to create a custom testing process.


Click here for a complete list of accreditations and certifications for all IMR Test Labs locations.


What types of materials can be analyzed with SEM?

Coatings, fibers, powders, solid materials and biological specimens can be tested with SEM Analysis. 

What information does SEM analysis provide?

Surface roughness, crystallographic information, topography, particle size, and elemental composition are all revealed through SEM analysis. 

How long does SEM analysis take?

Analyses can be completed in as little as a few hours.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email