Ceramics and Hard Coatings

Uncoated and non-conducting samples can be observed in the variable pressure mode without damaging the sample. Components made of ceramic materials are in some cases the only solution to technical problems that cannot be resolved with conventional materials.
Technical ceramics can be divided into the following groups: oxide ceramics (which contain materials consisting primary of metal oxides such as alumina, zirconia, beryllium and ceria); non-oxide ceramics (materials based on carbides, nitrides, borides and silicates); and composite ceramics (comprising particle- and fibre-reinforced ceramics as well as combinations of oxides and non-oxide ceramics).
  • Advanced ceramics refers to technical, engineering or industrial ceramics.
  • Ceramic materials are very resistant to abrasion and have very interesting mechanical, electrical, thermal properties.
  • Advanced ceramics have a wide range of applications in automotive, medicine, electrical and electronic industry.
  • TESCAN Field Emission Gun SEMs (FEG-SEMs) are ideal instruments for studying advanced ceramic structures at high resolution.
  • SEM can be used in combination with the Beam Deceleration Technology (BDT) in order to achieve high resolution imaging at ultra-low landing electron energies, allowing researchers to obtain superb images of the microstructure of such samples.
Ceramics and Hard Coatings
Al2O3– detail (BSE detector)

Related Application Notes

Microstructure of silicon - enriched nickel aluminide diffusion coating
A mixture of commercially available pure silicon and aluminium powders in a liquid amyl acetate based organic binder was painted onto the surface of Inconel 713LC nickel based superalloy by means of the spray gun. Two stage heat treatment process in an argon atmosphere was designed to produce a silicon enriched nickel aluminide diffusion coating, which should be promising for the most demanding high temperature applications in aircraft, automotive and power generation industries. The microstructure of the coating was analyzed using the scanning electron microscope (SEM) TESCAN LYRA3 equipped with focused ion beam (FIB), Energy Dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX) and 3D Tomography software module.
pdf – 2 MB
Imaging of non-conductive samples, detecting nuances of compositional contrast or resolving tiny surface features in many fields of life science, material science or semiconductor engineering have become increasingly more important for scanning electron microscopy. For high energy beam the penetration depth of the electron beam interacting with the sample surface is high, resulting in a large interaction volume. Modern materials such as very thin composites in nano-meter scale cannot be observed at high energies because surface features are simply transparent for the electron beam. .
pdf – 3.3 MB
FIB-SEM tomography of SiAlON graphene composite using the TESCAN S9000X
SiAlON ceramics are known for their superior mechanical properties, thermal stability, creep resistance and corrosion resistance. Such properties make these ceramics suitable for a variety of applications; for instance, in production of cutting tools or ball bearings where outstanding thermal stability and conductivity are essential wanted features. However, thermal conductivity of SiAlON ceramics could be further improved. On way of enhancing thermal conductivity in SiAlON ceramics is using graphene. The thermal conductivity of the SiAlON-Graphene composite is beneficial especially in the work zone of the material. Beside of thermal properties, graphene additive could also improve electrical conductivity of normally non-conductive SiAlON ceramics. It is then important to properly characterise these compounds in order to control and obtain the desired properties.
pdf – 952 kB