An anomalous contrast in scanning electron microscopy of insulators: the pseudo-mirror effect

M Belhaj, O Jbara, S Odof, K Msellak, E I Rau, M V Andrianov
In a scanning electron microscope, electron-beam irradiation of insulators may induce a strong electric field due to the trapping of charges within the specimen interaction volume. On one hand, this field modifies the trajectories of the beam of electrons subsequently entering the specimen, resulting in reduced penetration depth into the bulk specimen. On the other hand, it leads to the acceleration in the vacuum of the emitted secondary electrons (SE) and also to a strong distortion of their
more » ... stortion of their angular distribution. Among others, the consequences concern an anomalous contrast in the SE image. This contrast is due to the so-called pseudo-mirror effect. The aim of this work is first to report the observation of this anomalous contrast, then to give an explanation of this effect, and finally to discuss the factors affecting it. Practical consequences such as contrast interpretations will be highlighted.
pmid:11145260 fatcat:mbcbxy2rx5fdlk2axp7d5bmcni