Tem And Sem Microscopy Comparison Essay

Our modern sciences have allowed for the advancement of our equipment which we can utilize to gain more knowledge. Nowadays, one of the leading fields in science that grants us a wider and more comprehensive point of view of how our universe works are the fields of microbiology and quantum physics and both are assisted by the creation of microscopes. The different microscopes are used to see better the really miniscule parts and samples of objects. There are 2 main types of microscopes that are each suitable with different aspects for different types of data gathering and research. The first one Is the electron microscope while the other is the light microscope.

The first type of microscope is the light microscope. This type of instrument utilizes natural or artificial sources of light to illuminate an object and then magnify it through the use of lenses properly and precisely placed together. On the other hand, an electron microscope can magnify images that are even smaller in size by utilizing special beams of light and waves through the advanced computing capacity of their computer’s processors. Through such, the electron microscope is able to provide scientist with clear images of very small organic and inorganic samples.  Both light and electron microscopes are made for diverse purposes, hence, there are various classes of electron microscopes and light microscopes that use the same technology but have varied specializations. There are 2 main types of electron microscopes. First is the Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). This type is specialized in using a beam of electrons  transmitted through a specimen to form an image .an Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Different sorts of electron magnifying lens incorporate the methods that are more appropriate for the examining the sample’s integrity.  The two kinds are the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) and the other one is the  Field Emission Transmission Microscope (FE-TEM)

An electron microscope utilizes light and energy emissions rather than the normal rays of light. Through this, the quality and efficiency of gathering magnified images is greatly improved and increased. Examining different materials and types of organic samples requires different configurations in order to accurately and precisely garner desired results. This is due to the fact that using electron microscopes are very complex and must be done with utmost care, precision, and must follow proper procedures in order to avoid damaging the instruments and wasting time, effort, and energy.

Both empower you to see little objects. In compound magnifying lens, you utilize brightness as the source of imagery through the reflection of light on the examined sample. In electron magnifying lens light emission discharged from the tungsten is the foundation of how the principle works in recording very small images. This bar goes through the field encompassed by the attractive loop. You see the shadow of the question put on the falling light emission on the fluorescent screen. Electrons are redirected by the attractive loop and this decides the determination. You can amplify up to 200000 times in the electron small scale adapt where as in the compound magnifying instrument not more than 2000 times.

In conclusion, the microscopes are similar in their ability to zoom in visually (magnified) and process good quality enlargement (highly resolved) of visual models. The use of microscopes has greatly improved humanity’s chances of evolving and acquiring even better technology in the fields of biology, neuroscience, pathology, chemistry and other medical and material bodies of sciences. Truly, looking at small things has a very huge impact on our miniscule knowledge about the mysteries of the universe.


Both SEM (scanning electron microscope/microscopy) and TEM (transmission electron microscope/microscopy) refer both to the instrument and the method used in electron microscopy.

There are a variety of similarities between the two. Both are types of electron microscopes and give the possibility of seeing, studying, and examining small, subatomic particles or compositions of a sample. Both also use electrons (specifically, electron beams), the negative charge of an atom. Also, both samples in use are required to be “stained” or mixed with a particular element in order to produce images. Images produced from these instruments are highly magnified and have a high resolution.

However, an SEM and TEM also share some differences. The method used in SEM is based on scattered electrons while TEM is based on transmitted electrons. The scattered electrons in SEM are classified as backscattered or secondary electrons. However, there is no other classification of electrons in TEM.

The scattered electrons in SEM produced the image of the sample after the microscope collects and counts the scattered electrons. In TEM, electrons are directly pointed toward the sample. The electrons that pass through the sample are the parts that are illuminated in the image.
The focus of analysis is also different. SEM focuses on the sample’s surface and its composition. On the other hand, TEM seeks to see what is inside or beyond the surface. SEM also shows the sample bit by bit while TEM shows the sample as a whole. SEM also provides a three-dimensional image while TEM delivers a two-dimensional picture.

In terms of magnification and resolution, TEM has an advantage compared to SEM. TEM has up to a 50 million magnification level while SEM only offers 2 million as a maximum level of magnification. The resolution of TEM is 0.5 angstroms while SEM has 0.4 nanometers. However, SEM images have a better depth of field compared to TEM produced images.
Another point of difference is the sample thickness, “staining,” and preparations. The sample in TEM is cut thinner in contrast to a SEM sample. In addition, an SEM sample is “stained” by an element that captures the scattered electrons.

In SEM, the sample is prepared on specialized aluminium stubs and placed on the bottom of the chamber of the instrument. The image of the sample is projected onto the CRT or television-like screen.
On the other hand, TEM requires the sample to be prepared in a TEM grid and placed in the middle of the specialized chamber of the microscope. The image is produced by the microscope via fluorescent screens.

Another feature of SEM is that the area where the sample is placed can be rotated in different angles.
TEM was developed earlier than SEM. TEM was invented by Max Knoll and Ernst Ruska in 1931. Meanwhile, SEM was created in 1942. It was developed at a later time due to the complexity of the machine’s scanning process.


1.Both SEM and TEM are two types of electron microscopes and are tools to view and examine small samples. Both instruments use electrons or electron beams. The images produced in both tools are highly magnified and offer high resolution.
2.How each microscope works is very different from another. SEM scans the surface of the sample by releasing electrons and making the electrons bounce or scatter upon impact. The machine collects the scattered electrons and produces an image. The image is visualized on a television-like screen. On the other hand, TEM processes the sample by directing an electron beam through the sample. The result is seen using a fluorescent screen.
3.Images are also a point of difference between two tools. SEM images are three-dimensional and are accurate representations while TEM pictures are two-dimensional and might require a little bit of interpretation. In terms of resolution and magnification, TEM gains more advantages compared to SEM.

Celine. "Difference Between TEM and SEM." DifferenceBetween.net. March 1, 2012 < http://www.differencebetween.net/science/difference-between-tem-and-sem/ >.

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