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Electron Microscopy Solutions
Scanning Electron Microscopes

Prisma E SEM for Materials Science

The most complete SEM for multi-user laboratories requiring all-round performance and ease-of-use.

The new Prisma E scanning electron microscope (SEM) combines a wide array of imaging and analytical modalities with new advanced automation to offer the most complete solution of any instrument in its class. It is ideal for industrial R&D, quality control, and failure analysis applications that require high resolution, sample flexibility and an easy-to-use operator interface. Prisma E succeeds the highly successful Quanta SEM.

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Webinar: Scanning electron microscopy: selecting the right technology for your needs

This on-demand webinar has been designed to help you decide which SEM best meets your unique needs. We present an overview of Thermo Fisher Scientific SEM technology for multi-user research labs and focus on how these wide-ranging solutions deliver performance, versatility, in situ dynamics and faster time to results. Watch this webinar if you are interested in:

  • How the needs for different microanalysis modalities are met (EDX, EBSD, WDS, CL, etc.).
  • How samples are characterized in their natural state without the need for sample preparation.
  • How new advanced automation allows researchers to save time and increase productivity.

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Excellent imaging

Multi-user laboratories require a microscope to produce high quality images with relevant data in a short amount of time. Prisma E fulfills this need with a robust imaging system based on a tetrode gun assembly that delivers excellent results at a wide range of beam energies and vacuum conditions. In all these conditions, both topographic and compositional images provide the necessary sample information. With simultaneous acquisition this information is readily available for further interpretation and analysis.

Prisma works equally well on traditional samples (steel with inclusion, 15 kV, high vacuum) ...
... as on insulating or sensitive samples. Paper (wood) is an electrical insulator - it was imaged in low vacuum (90 Pa) to prevent charging. Prisma's ability to also work at low beam energy (1.5 kV in this image), even when in low vacuum, enables extraction of true surface information.

Simultaneous detection of topographic (left) and compositional (middle) information provides all sample information in a single scan of the electron beam. The topographic and compositional data are combined in one image (right) that shows all information.
Sample: polymer-metal composite

Easy Navigation

Finding the region of interest or even finding the sample itself can be a tedious task… but not on Prisma E. The in-chamber navigation camera (Nav-Cam) provides a detailed photo of the sample holder, which makes it easy to work with multiple samples in one session and to navigate to them one by one. Within a sample, you’ll go to the region of interest by simply clicking it. The Nav-cam image rotates along with the sample, so that navigation is truly intuitive.

Prisma E’s User Interface with the Nav-Cam image showing the multi-purpose sample holder. Point-and-click navigation brings you straight to the region of interest.

Sample flexibility

Today’s research extends beyond traditional metals and coated samples – also nonconductive materials, large or heavy samples, dirty samples or even wet samples require study at microscopic scales. Prisma E features three imaging modes – high vacuum, low vacuum and ESEM™ – which accommodate the widest range of samples of any SEM available. Moreover, Prisma E’s chamber fits large samples and is equipped with a 110x110 mm 5-axis motorized eucentric stage with a tilt range of 105°, allowing observation of samples from all perspectives.

The tip of a drill bit is studied by tilting the stage to 90°. 

Pollen is imaged in hydrated state using Prisma E’s environmental mode (ESEM).

Support for Analytics

The increasing need for elemental (EDX, WDS) and crystallographic (EBSD) sample data is accommodated by Prisma E’s analytical chamber, which supports multiple EDX detectors to increase throughput and remove shadowing effects. In addition, the analytical chamber supports coplanar EDX/EBSD and parallel beam WDS to ensure optimum positioning for all techniques. Thanks to Prisma E’s in situ capabilities, reliable analytical results are obtained even on samples that are insulating or at high temperature.
Additional sample information for photonics, geoscience, ceramics, glass and failure analysis applications comes from the unique retractable RGB cathodoluminescence detector.

Prisma E’s analytical chamber has 12 ports, supporting dual 180° EDS, coplanar EDS/EBSD and WDS, amongst others.

Real color image of a CRT monitor showing the three different RGB phosphors, taken with the retractable cathodoluminescence detector.

Elemental Characterization

Researchers requiring the powerful combination of imaging and elemental characterization (SEM + EDX) will benefit from the Thermo Scientific UltraDry™ detector with Thermo Scientific Pathfinder software. As standard, the UltraDry package comes with peak deconvolution for fast and accurate quantitative elemental maps, automatic drift compensation, and an unlimited site license for offline analysis and processing.

A complex inclusion in steel

The x-ray spectrum recorded with the UltraDry detector shows the presence of Fe, Mn, C, Al and Si.

Quantitative elemental maps show iron (Fe), as expected, with the inclusion mainly consisting of carbon (C). Interestingly, aluminum (Al) and silicon (Si) occupy different parts of the inclusion. Manganese (Mn) is seen throughout the steel. These maps help to understand the formation of inclusions to optimize the production process.

Ease-of-Use through Advanced Automation

For labs requiring minimal training time for a large group of users, ease of use is paramount. Prisma E comes with the latest generation of the proven xT user interface on Windows 10 which includes User Guidance – a help function that directly interacts with the microscope. It also includes ‘Undo/Redo’ functionality, encouraging novice users to experiment with peace of mind, while expert users easily shorten their time to results. Prisma E supports scanning presets, column presets, and SmartSCAN™ to boost productivity, data quality and ease of use even further. For repetitive work or for advanced experimentation, Prisma E can be automated with Autoscript, a powerful Python-based scripting tool.


“Undo” in action. Initially, the system is scanning live and the sample is in focus…

… then the image is accidentally defocused …

… and with the “Undo” button the previous situation is restored.


Prisma E Datasheet

Prisma E offers all-round performance in imaging and analytics, a unique environmental mode (ESEM), and a full range of accessories that make it the most complete tungsten SEM available.

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