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New Solution for Scanning Electron Microscopes Includes Immediately Available Color Images for Fast Analyses, Highly Precise Data

ColorSEM technology provides scientists more complete sample information and increased productivity

by Thermo Fisher Scientific
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Live color image providing elemental information of a fracture in a ceramic sample. Imaged with Thermo Scientific Prisma E SEM with ColorSEM technology

Scientists, engineers, and researchers can now instantly view and analyze meaningful elemental content that is differentiated by color directly from a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The Thermo Scientific ColorSEM technology is the first commercial solution that includes integrated elemental analysis with unique color imaging. It produces live color images directly within the simplified SEM user interface (UI) without switching to conventional Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) analysis or another user interface. This new technology allows users to generate more complete information from their samples, can be less intimidating for inexperienced users, and can increase productivity compared to current techniques.

"Like the move from black and white to color televisions, this solution will make greyscale SEM images a thing of the past," said Mike Shafer, president of materials and structural analysis at Thermo Fisher Scientific. "Immediate access to colorized elemental information means our customers can see differences they may have otherwise missed in regular SEM imaging and provides users of all experience levels with more intuitive information that can propel their research forward."

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The Thermo Scientific ColorSEM technology solves two user problems:

  1. It integrates SEM and EDS into one technique. Researchers often use SEM imaging with EDS analysis to determine the elemental composition of a sample, which can be time-consuming and intimidating for inexperienced users. By integrating the SEM and EDS into one imaging technique, ColorSEM increases productivity and eliminates the need to move from one UI to another. The faster, easier-to-use process makes it possible for academic institutions to accommodate more researchers within a single multi-user lab with a higher throughput.
  2. It allows users to see true elemental content, differentiated by color, instantly. Scientists, researchers and engineers using SEM need to observe similarities and differences within their samples, but greyscale SEM imaging lacks elemental composition information. Elemental content produced with the new ColorSEM technology is automatically generated with differentiated colors, allowing users to immediately see defects or tell features apart in a sample area.

The ColorSEM technology will be available in the fourth quarter of 2019. Thermo Fisher will demonstrate the solution at the Microscience Microscopy Congress (MMC) 2019 in July and at Microscopy & Microanalysis (M&M) 2019 in August. To learn more about ColorSEM, visit