A scanning Auger microscope can be thought of as a scanning electron microscope with a specialized electron energy analyzer attached. Auger electron spectroscopy permits elemental and sometimes chemical analysis with high depth resolution (about 3 nm), good elemental sensitivity (1.0 to 0.1 atomic percent) and high lateral resolution (minimum 6 nm). The spatial distribution of elements on a surface can be mapped. Changes in elemental composition with depth can be documented by recording surface composition while using an ion gun to gradually remove surface layers. The sample is analyzed in an ultra high vacuum chamber.
CMSE's PHI Model 700 Nanoprobe has a field emission electron source for high lateral resolution; a floating voltage argon gun for depth profiling and sample neutralization; a portable transfer vessel so that processed samples can be loaded into the instrument without exposure to air; and a nitrogen-coolable impact fracture stage for in situ preparation of intergranular fracture surfaces for analysis.