Why Phenom?

Phenom WorldNanoscience Instruments is proud to partner with Phenom World, leading global supplier of desktop scanning electron microscopes (SEM). Together, we continuously invest, develop and integrate our products to help customers improve their return on investment, time to data, and to increase system functionality.

Superior Performance

The Phenom SEM is the most powerful tabletop SEM, providing a streamlined workflow to yield superior results. Key features contribute to these benefits, including:

Superior Electron Source
Backscattered Electron Detector
Excellent SEM Imaging
Integrated Elemental Analysis with EDS
High Productivity

Superior Electron Source 

The Phenom SEMs feature a CeB6 high brightness, long-life electron source that is superior to tungsten SEMs. A solid-state crystal electron source gives several benefits, including:

  • 10x more electrons than tungsten
  • Cleaner and tighter beam for higher resolution than tungsten filament SEMs
  • Superior imaging at all kV ranges, especially low kV
  • No need to auto-tune or recalibrate
  • No catastrophic source failure during operation

Backscattered Electron Detector 

The Phenom SEMs are equipped with an integrated backscattered electron detector (BSD). The four-quadrant solid-state backscatter electron detector used in Phenom SEMs:

  • Detects elastically scattered electrons 
  • Provides material contrast 
  • Provides topographic imaging
  • Allows for lower vacuum level to minimize beam damage and sample charging
  • Results in orientation independent shading

Maximize Workflow

Secondary electron detector (SED) images require complicated threshold image analysis because images are convoluted by shadows associated with the SED position. The inherent composition information and placement of the BSD combined with the high brightness electron source creates images with orientation independent shading with material contrast to allow for straightforward threshold analysis. This results in quantitative image processing that may also be automated to maximize workflow. 


Backscattered electron detector (BSD) image with no orientation shading (left) and secondary electron detector (SED) image (right) with shading due to placement of SED in the SEM. 

Excellent SEM Imaging

Crisp, high quality images are quickly acquired with the Phenom scanning electron microscope thanks to the electron source and BSD. Conductive and insulating samples can be imaged by the Phenom SEM without compromising the source lifetime thanks to the innovative column design.

SEM image of table salt (NaCl)

Phenom SEM image of sodium chloride (NaCl) at 1450x magnification

The Phenom SEM fits on a benchtop and delivers images at high magnification, benefiting from microscope design and the high brightness source.

Phenom SEM image of butterfly wing

SEM image of a butterfly wing at 75,000x magnification 

The fully integrated optical camera allows for navigation to specific areas of interest. The image from the optical camera is displayed in real time and correlates to the live SEM image.  

Phenom Optical and SEM images from integrated navigation system

 From left to right: Optical image at 20x, optical image at 120x and correlated SEM image at 120x

Integrated Elemental Analysis with EDS

The Phenom desktop scanning electron microscope is the ultimate all-in-one imaging and x-ray analysis system.  Sample structures can be physically examined and their elemental composition determined.  Viewing three-dimensional images of microscopic structures only solves half the problem when analyzing samples. It is often necessary to collect more than imaging data to be able to identify the different elements in a specimen. Using EDS with SEM addresses this need for elemental analysis.

EDS Spectrum

Example of EDS spectrum for Phenom SEM

The EDS detector for the Phenom SEM:

  • Is fully integrated
  • Has a high input count rate
  • Is easy to operate
  • Does not require liquid nitrogen

The EDS software package runs smart algorithms with advanced peak analysis to optimize the auto-identification functionality, while still allowing for manual adjustments at any time in the analysis process. The intuitive step-by-step process within the software helps the user to collect all x-ray results in an organized and structured way.

The x-ray detector and control software are combined in one package. This Elemental Identification (EID) software package allows the user to program multiple point analysis and identify any hidden elements within the sample. Additionally, this software can be expanded with elemental mapping functionality. The step-by-step guided process within the EID software helps the user to collect all x-ray results in an organized and structured way.


Over 75% of SEM applications use magnifications between 1000x and 10,000x. The entry-level Phenom Pure is ideal for this imaging range. The Phenom Pure has an option to increase magnification to 65,000x.

The classic Phenom SEM systems are upgradeable. A Phenom Pure is easily upgradeable to a Phenom Pro, providing 150,000x magnification, higher resolution and more accelerating voltage. When elemental identification is needed, the Phenom Pro can be upgraded to a Phenom ProX, the ultimate tabletop SEM for imaging with EDS.

For large or multiple samples, the Phenom XL utilizes a large stage. The Phenom XL SEM includes an integrated BSD. EDS for elemental analysis and an integrated SED for topographic imaging are available.


The Phenom scanning electron microscope was designed to make SEM technology more accessible:

  • Easy to use
  • Fast
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Intuitive software
  • Never-Lost navigation correlating optical and electron image
  • Small footprint with no infrastructure required 

Additional software options can also be applied for maximum workflow. These include automated analysis of fibers, pores, or particles, surface roughness, and elemental analysis with EDS. Customized analysis is available using a scripting interface.

High Productivity

With images acquired in less than a minute after loading a sample, the Phenom SEM is a high throughput instrument. The Phenom SEM requires minimal maintenance and has a low cost of ownership.

  • Long up-time
  • Electron source does not require frequent tuning
  • Dedicated operator is not needed
  • Unique load-lock and vacuum reservoir
    • Highly efficient pump down times
    • Column protected from loose particles
    • Vibration insensitive
    • No additional infrastructure is needed

The Phenom SEM is an affordable SEM that has several advantages over outsourcing for SEM data and elemental analysis.

SEM Gallery
SEM Gallery

Phenom desktop SEM image gallery

Customer Insights
Customer Insights

Videos and interviews explaining how customers use the Phenom SEM


Contact us: 480-758-5400


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