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There are a number of basic tasks that every user on the SX-100 should know how to do.  These include:

  • Turning the beam on and off, adjusting beam size and beam current, reading beam current
  • Checking the vacuum status
  • Moving the stage
  • Viewing the optical image of the sample
  • Viewing the beam
  • Setting the spectrometers to elements


  • LC= left mouse click
  • RC= right mouse click

These tasks can all be accomplished by working with the window that opens when you LC “General” on the SX-100 toolbar, or by using the SX-Control- Roller window that usually is in the lower right corner of the main PC screen.  Below are abbreviated instructions for accomplishing each task.


  • LC General on the SX-100 toolbar.  A window called SX Control with a series of tabbed pages will open
  • LC to the Beam tab
  • At the top of the window, LC On.  Standby button will be highlighted briefly, as the heat ramps up, then beam will come on.
  • Heat, HV, and I emi will ramp up.  A red beam schematic will appear
  • To select a beam current, LH on I (nA) and select a value.
  • To read the actual beam current, LC Measure on the Roller window is.  A window labeled Fara will open right under the Measure button, and you can read the actual beam current.
  • You can change the beam size in either the Roller or General window.  To change the beam size, go to the Size (um) window.  For normal work, this should be set to 0. 


  • Go to the Vacuum tab
  • Check that the bars on all of the sliders, except the airlock, are in the green.  When the units are set to Pascal (Pa), the gun vacuum (part nearest top of screen on schematic) should be in the 10-6 range and the chamber (area under the gun) should be in the 10-5 range. 
  • Check that the roughing pumps (two circles at the bottom on the page) are yellow-green.


There are lots of ways to move the stage, and each person usually develops a method that works best for them.  A few methods are summarized below:

  • You can also click on the optical image of the sample.  To get to the optical image, select the Position tab on the SX Control window.  On the SX Control Roller window, toggle the light to ON.  Now, you can double LC anywhere on the window to move to that spot.  To see a large field of view, select a different value on the Field of View area on the SX Control Roller window. 
  • On the SX-100 toolbar, there is a small picture of the stage.  You can double LC anywhere on that picture to move to a given location.
  • The physical roller wheel control console has wheels that let you move in X, Y and Z.
  • Also on the console, you can type in X, Y, Z locations of a known position


In order to view the beam, you need to go to a cathodoluminescent sample called Benitoite.  The position of this sample is stored in memory.

  • At the very bottom of the SX-100 toolbar, click the icon that shown an XYZ axis (three arrows).
  • Go down this list until you see Stand-2 beniDouble LC on that line.
  • On the Control Roller window, select a field of view of 250 microns.
  • Optically focus the benitoite using the Z wheel on the Roller Console, or using Auto-Focus (several locations).
  • Remove the Faraday cup from the beam path by toggling to Cup Off on the Control Roller window, or by pushing the button labeled CUP on the Roller Console.
  • You should see a small blue spot that is the visible image of the beam
  • Focus the beam using the Coarse Beam Focus knob on the Roller Console.
  • When done, put Faraday cup back in place


In order to be able to create quick Xray maps, it is convenient to be able to set the spectrometers of elements of interest. 

  • LC the General tab on the SX Control window.
  • In the WDS area, you will see three buttons that say SP1, SP2, and SP3.  Under those are three buttons that say PET, TAP, and LLIF.  Under those, areas with numbers and icons that represent a little periodic table with a hand next to the numbers. 
  • Left click on the hand, and a periodic table will open.  You can double LC on the element to which you want to drive the spectrometer. 
  • Set each spectrometer to an element, noting that each spectrometer is most suitable for a certain range of elements (see color coding).


Main > Labs > Microprobe > User Information > Getting Started on the SX-100