Material Damage Due to Electron Beam During Testing in the Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM)

Girma Kifetew, Dick Sandberg


This study describes the development of cell-wall damage, i.e., the creation of cracks across or in the vicinity of pits during the testing of twenty microtomed spruce (Picea abies karst.) samples in the Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM). Samples were investigated both in an unloaded condition and under a constant tensile load and at different moisture levels. Regions of the moisturecycled samples that had been exposed to an electron beam during image acquisition showed damage running through pits and their surroundings. Specimens loaded in the green condition and dried in the chamber for 2 h without beam exposure except during imaging showed no noticeable cell-wall damage. The results indicate that the electron beam may be a major source of damage initiation. Therefore, it is essential to note the circumstances of the test when explaining the observations made in ESEM studies.


Constant load;damage;drying;electron beam;environmental scanning electron microscopy;pit;wetting

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