The microscopy suite resides in the basement of the FOCAS building which is specifically designed for vibration stability and electromagnetic shielding.

Two State of the Art Field Emission Gun Scanning Electron Microscopes are located in the Microscopy Suite, a Hitachi SU-70 and a Hitachi SU-6600. FESEM has many advantages over conventional SEM. FESEM provides narrower probing beams at both low and high electron energy. As a result, sample charging is minimised and narrower probing beams are produced at both high and low accelerating voltages.

In addition, the Hitachi SU-70 is interfaced with an Oxford Instruments Silicon Drift Detector, capable of carrying out both Energy and Wave Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy. This allows the operator to pin-point particular areas of a sample in order to ascertain exact elemental composition as well as determining the quantity of each element present.


CREST also has full ownership of two high specification coating units. The Cressington 208C Carbon Evaporation Coating Unit and the Cressington 208HR Sputter Coater. It can be difficult to obtain high quality FESEM images of samples which are not electrically conducting. Coating samples with a thin layer of conductive metal or carbon can reduce/ eliminate sample charging effects in addition to enhancing secondary electron emission.

CREST instrumentation includes:

Other equipment in FOCAS are also available and further details can be obtained from Prof. Hugh Byrne (FOCAS)

Hitachi SU-6600 Variable Pressure, Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope – with Gatan Cryotransfer Stage

Atomic Force Microscope Data Station (SMPLAB)