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February 23rd, 2011
The visualization of the nanosculptures and nanolandscapes is an important aspect of NanoArt. These structures at molecular and atomic levels could be only visualized with advanced research tools like electron microscopes. Not long time ago, the cost of these instruments was prohibitive for individuals or for small businesses. But now there are several affordable desktop electron microscopes and all could be used to visualize structures at nano level.
Priced around $60,000, Hitachi's TM-1000 electron microscope may be out of range for most families, artists, and most of the amateur scientists, but it's still affordable for schools, small research firms, industry, and museums. With the miniaturization and software development progressing rapidly, we'll probably see a significant drop in price in the next few years.
Hitachi is not the only manufacturer of desktop electron microscopes.
Born from the combined expertise of Nikon Instruments and JEOL, the NeoScope SEM's advanced features are complemented by simplicity and affordability.
Hirox, specialist in digital video microscopy, set a new standard in desktop SEM. The Tabletop SEM is a bridge between the world of optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. As simple as a video camera, the Tabletop SEM can be used by anyone.
Starting at $75,000, the PSEM eXpress made by ASPEX quickly accommodates real-world specimens using a simple user interface. Comparable in size to a laser printer, it detects particles from 100 nanometers to 5 millimeters with 25 nanometers resolution, and has microchemical analysis (EDX) capabilities.
FEI's Phenom SEM is about the size and shape of a desktop computer and it can magnify up to 20,000x, while costing only $72,000.
Delong America's LVEM5 is the next generation of electron microscope, built on a revolutionary technology platform that combines advanced imaging with unparalleled benchtop convenience. The LVEM5 Benchtop Electron Microscope is the smallest multi-mode desktop electron microscope.
The Mini-SEM by Evex is an Analytical Miniature Scanning Electron Microscope with Adjustable Voltage and it has only 22 x 22 x 22 inch footprint and up to 120,000X magnification (digital zoom).