Nova 200 NanoLab: SEM & EDS

From the KNI Lab at Caltech
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Nova 200
Instrument Type Microscopy
Techniques SEM, EDS
Immersion Lens Imaging
Staff Manager Annalena Wolff
Staff Email
Staff Phone 626-395-5994
Reserve time on FBS
Request training via FBS User Dashboard
Lab Location B203 Steele
Lab Phone 626-395-1542
Manufacturer FEI (now Thermo Fisher)
Model Nova 200 NanoLab


The Nova 200 is the KNI's highest-resolution field-emission gun (FEG) analytical scanning electron microscope (SEM), equipped with an immersion lens for imaging sub-10 nm features and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) for compositional analysis. It is also outfitted with a gallium focused ion beam (Ga-FIB) column, which is currently not operational because the Nova 600 NanoLab and ORION NanoFab together meet the KNI's Ga-FIB demand; Ga-FIB could be reactivated on the Nova 200 in the future. See a full list of training and educational resources for this instrument below.

SEM Applications
  • Ultra-High-Resolution Imaging (Immersion Mode aka UHR Mode)
  • High-Resolution Imaging (Field-Free Mode aka Normal Mode)
  • Secondary Electron (SE) imaging with an Everhart-Thornley Detector (ETD) & Through-the-Lens Detector (TLD)
  • Backscattered Electron (BSE) imaging with a TLD
  • Tungsten deposition via Gas Injection System (GIS)
  • Automated imaging with RunScript program & AutoScript language
EDS Applications
  • Spectrum acquisition for qualitative and quantitative compositional analysis
  • Linescan acquisition for 1D spatial compositional analysis
  • Map acquisition for 2D spatial compositional analysis


Equipment Status
SOPs & Manuals & SDS
Video Tutorials
Graphical Handouts

Simulation Software
Calibrate Measurements with NIST Standard
  • The KNI has a NIST-traceable standard against which SEM measurements can be compared. See Slides 54-55 of the SEM Presentation for details. Ask staff for help finding and using the standard in the lab.
Sample Preparation
  • Use the Carbon Evaporator to make non-conductive samples conductive by applying 2-10 nm of evaporated carbon.
  • Use the O2/Ar Plasma Cleaner to remove hydrocarbons from the sample surface to avoid creating dark contamination spots on your features while imaging them.
Stubs for specimen mounting
  • Stubs used for mounting specimens are considered a personal, consumable item in the KNI. There are some stubs at each Microscope which can be used by any KNI microscopy user. You can also buy your own stubs so that you can keep them clean and available to you. There are many stub geometries and configurations. If you chose to buy your own stubs, please show them to the staff microscopist prior to using them: some stubs including stubs with copper clips have large height differences and can only be used safely in specific operating conditions.
Guide to Choosing KNI SEMs & FIBs


Manufacturer Specifications
SEM Specifications
  • Minimum Feature Size Resolved in Immersion Mode: ~5 nm
  • Voltage Range: 0.2 to 30.0 kV
  • Current Range: ~10 pA to 20 nA
  • Apertures: 30 μm, 40 μm, 50 μm, 100 μm
  • Eucentric Height: ~4.8 mm working distance (WD)
  • Stage Range: ±25 mm X & Y travel, 50 mm Z travel, -12 to 58° tilt, 360° rotation
  • ETD Grid Bias Range: -150 to 300 V
  • TLD Bias Range: -100 to 150 V
  • Ultimate Vacuum: 5e-6 mbar