Metrology - Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Services in San Diego

scanning electron microscopy services

The spheres, hohlraums, machined plates, and other target components produced by General Atomics’ Inertial Fusion Technology (IFT) division must meet exacting standards to perform properly for the high-energy-density experiments in which they are used. Experiments such as these are extremely sensitive to minor variations in chemistry and geometry, which means precise post-fabrication analysis is a must. To meet this need, the IFT Characterization Laboratory employs a diverse suite of tools, all geared toward answering challenging questions that require the precise characterization of materials.

The IFT division is capable of characterizing all key properties of the targets and components it delivers, as well as other samples requiring precise analysis: geometry, composition, surface finish, material properties, and gas/water permeability. GA has a unique dual confocal microscopy capability for assessing target geometry and complementary x-ray radiography and surface profiling capabilities that can be leveraged to yield a complete picture of fabricated targets. This highly sophisticated approach to target metrology ensures timely delivery with high accuracy to customer specifications.

GA also operates an electron analytical laboratory for scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDXS), and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) to allow characterization of doped layers, surface oxidation, and other related surface issues. The ultimate goal is not just to meet customer requirements but also ensure that each target has a pedigree with traceable and certified measurements. We employ a wide variety of standard characterization techniques and have also developed a range of proprietary techniques for sample metrology.


Our lab services and equipment include:

  • Manual and automated optical microscopes
  • Scanning electron microscope
  • Energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy
  • Auger electron spectroscopy
  • X-ray tomography
  • X-ray fluorescence
  • FTIR spectroscopy
  • Densitometry
  • Heliometry
  • Contact radiography
  • White-light and phase-shifting diffraction interferometry
  • Absorption edge spectroscopy
  • Precision radiography
  • Atomic-force microscopy
  • Failure analysis
  • Materials characterization
  • Elemental analysis
  • Metallurgical analysis
  • Thin-film testing