The analytical SEM and STEM, an indespensable tool in ceramics research

Bernard A. Boukamp, Aloysius J.A. Winnubst, Klaas Keizer, Karel Jan de Vries, Anthonie Burggraaf

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The analytical scanning and (scanning) ransmission electron microscopes are indispensable tools in the research field
of advanced ceramics. The EMs are used for characterization and analysis at the various stages in the sample preparation procedure and beyond the final stage, in subsequent annealing and aging experiments. In this presentation the involvement of EM analysis in the ceramic materials research program of our laboratory is discussed.
In the development of tough ceramics based on tetragonal ZY, the EM is used for monitoring the (precursor) powder particle sizes (about 10 nm), the measurement of grain growth «0.5 mu) during the sintering process and change in morphology due to aging experiments. (Un)wanted second phase is characterized with EDS. Microporous ceramic membranes consisting of one to three layers, with decreasing pore sizes, on top of a porous support, can be used for gas separation. These thin top layers (l-S micron) are checked with the SEM for pinholes and cracks. The interface between two layers of different material is monitored with EDS.
Electro-ceramic materials (oxides) find use in solid oxide fuel cells, oxygen pumps and gas sensors. Grain size and unwanted second phases influence the ionic conductivity. The electrode kinetics are largely controlled by the electrode morphology. The SEM is the appropriate tool for the analysis of these aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-247
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1988


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