CEM6881 - Scanning electron microscopy - 2017

0 points, SCA Band 2, 0.000 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Dr Matthew Weyland

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)
  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


The scanning electron microscope (SEM) is an instrument that provides the unique ability to characterise the surface of materials at micrometre and nanometre scales. This course is designed to offer both theoretical and practical training in operating a SEM, for those who need the technique for their research. The emphasis is to arm students with the skills necessary to both effectively operate the instrument AND make meaningful conclusions regarding the results generated.


Upon successful completion of this unit, the learner will be able to:

  1. Safely and independently operate a scanning electron microscope (SEM) at MCEM.
  2. Understand how to tune microscope parameters to match the information required from their specimens.
  3. Confidently be able to interpret the results from secondary electron, backscattered electron and energy dispersive X-ray data.
  4. Be able to prepare samples for loading into the instrument.


Students must pass both experimental evaluation and examination components to pass this unit

Experimental evaluation (microscope license test, and assessment): 50%

Examination - open and closed book tests (delivered by Moodle): 50%

Workload requirements

The minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 120 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities, independent study and independent operation of instruments. The unit requires on average one or two hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of lectures, seminars, small group practical training, one-to-one practical training and online engagement.

Timetables for each learner will depend on the date they commence training, the availability of experimental facilities and individual progression. Learners will be provided with timetables by teaching staff.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


This course is only available to those students whose research project requires training for independent operation of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) within the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy (MCEM). This requirement will be determined by MCEM staff during a new user interview, which also must be attended with their research supervisor(s) before enrolment. Students should refer to the access section of the MCEM website to arrange a new user interview

Students must also attend a MCEM new user induction and sign the MCEM Safety Induction Checklist and User Agreement.