Microscopy & Imaging

Microscopy and imaging lie at the heart of the analysis process. Optical Light Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy and Fourier Transform Infra-Red Microscopy form the core or our facilities. These are coupled with advanced analytical techniques for visualizing and measuring microscopic features to nanoscale dimensions.

Expertise includes the microscopic analysis of many sample types including electronics components and assemblies, metallurgical samples, polymer samples and assemblies, ceramics, packaging materials, high temperature coatings and a range of particles and contaminants on various surfaces and filters.

We provide analytical expertise to support failure analysis, research, forensic investigation, troubleshooting, quality control and other requirements.

Optical Light Microscopy

Optical light microscopy allows small features of a sample to be analysed in detail. Light microscopy is routinely used to examine samples and identify areas of interest. At higher magnification, they are used to assess microstructure and are extremely effective in locating residues and debris material which can then be subject to compositional analysis to determine their source.

The optical light microscope is an important analytical tool in its own right and a key link between observation with the naked eye and very high magnification surface inspection and compositional analysis.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

The SEM is essentially a high magnification microscope, which uses a focussed, scanned beam of electrons to produce images of the sample. The SEM provides high-resolution and long-depth-of-field images of the sample surface. SEM is one of the most widely used analytical tools in industry due to the extremely detailed images it can provide.
Coupled to an auxiliary Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) detector, this technique also offers elemental identification of nearly the entire periodic table.

MCS uses SEM to help a wide range of clients whenever an optical microscope cannot provide the necessary image resolution. Applications include failure analysis, dimensional analysis, process characterization, reverse engineering, and particle identification.

Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis (EDS)

Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS or EDX) is an analytical technique used for the elemental analysis or chemical characterization of a sample. EDS is carried out on samples which are viewed in the SEM and can provide elemental analysis on areas as small as  a few tens of nanometers in diameter.

The impact of the electron beam from the SEM on the sample produces x-rays that are characteristic of the elements found on the sample. With EDS, you can determine the elemental composition of individual points or map out the lateral distribution of elements from select areas.

Fourier Transform Infra Red Spectroscopy (FT-IR)

FTIR provides specific information about chemical bonding and molecular structures, making it useful for analyzing organic materials and certain inorganic materials. Chemical bonds vibrate at characteristic frequencies, and when exposed to infrared radiation, they absorb the radiation at frequencies that match their vibration modes. Measuring the radiation absorption as a function of frequency produces a spectrum that can be used to identify functional groups and compounds.

MCS primarily uses FTIR to assist our customers with identifying and analyzing materials and/or contaminants. For example, we work with you to determine whether a device or component is contaminated. If it is, we can use FTIR to help determine what the contaminant is, so you can eliminate the source.