We Can Figure This Out.org
Virtual Lab: Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
University of Virginia
© 2003-Present, John C. Bean
Here we zoom into the real SEM image of the letter ?V? on a Virginia quarter coin. The ?V? is about 1.5 mm tall.

The coin is new and shiny but the SEM image (taken in secondary electron mode) strongly emphasizes bumps and scratches.

For an SEM, this is still a LOW magnification image. In fact, when we turned up the magnification (by turning down the gain on the X-Y sweep to the SEM) we could more than fill the screen with a single scratch on the coin. The image looked a bit like the inside of a crater on the moon!

Last Scene