Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

The FlexSEM 1000 is a rapid and easy to use variable pressure SEM amenable to imaging both conductive and insulating specimens

The FlexSEM 1000 VP-SEM combines innovative technological features with an intuitive interface, to deliver adaptability and flexibility in a powerful, automated, lab-friendly package. Cutting-edge technology provides unrivaled imaging performance, even in variable-pressure environments, a feature previously only available in a full-sized SEM.


  • Secondary electron (SE) detector for max resolution imaging at high vacuum
  • Back-scatter electron (BSE) detector for high material contrast imaging at high and low vacuum
  • Ultra-variable detector (UVD) for high resolution imaging at low vacuum and cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging
  • Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) for elemental identification and mapping
  • Elemental range from boron (5) to californium (98)
  • Can accept specimens up to  50 mm diameter and 40 mm thickness.


The FlexSEM 1000 can be operated by researchers or on a fee for service basis by MCFP platform staff. Trained users can book through the MCFP iLab booking system. Please contact Anders Barlow to arrange access or training.

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Sample Preparation

As with all vacuum techniques cleanliness is key. Samples should be free from moisture and oils, adhered onto a substrate or to double-sided conductive adhesive tape. Mounting on SEM pin stubs is preferable, but the FlexSEM has many flexible mounting options, please discuss with the instrument manager if you are not sure.

Additional Resources

Hitachi FlexSEM 1000 website