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The Scanning Electron Microscope at Noisebridge.

  • "TV Mini-SEM (R)" by ISI (International Scientific Instruments)
  • lives in the "science ghetto" on the west end of the south wall at 2169.
  • is tended by Mike Kan and the rest of the SEM mailing list


  1. If you release the vacuum without venting the pump hose, pump oil will flood the chamber and contaminate the entire mechanism, requiring 10 hours of cleanup.
  2. If you vent air into the column without powering down the filament, you'll probably destroy the filament ($100).
  3. If you

Startup procedures

  1. get the power cord from Mike.
  2. (to be continued)

Todo list

  1. column liner needs to be replaced. Larry may be able to provide a clean liner. (2010-06-15)
  2. (long term) build digital capture stage to replace CRT mechanism (2010-06-15)
  3. build sputter coater for specimen preparation (2010-06-15)
  4. test repair of X Stigmator circuit. Replaced 741 op amp. (ongoing, work began 2010-11-20)

Repair and Enhancement

  • schematics framed behind SEM are to a similar, potentially slightly more modern model
  • poorly designed wire harness may cause linear op amp and transistor on the J1 board of the CRT module to fail
  • camera mounting stage and bellows hood for slow-scan exposure. Proposed (2010-06-15), Completed by Mike, Miloh, and Chris (2010-11-06)


  • Delivered in September, 1975
  • magnifies up to 20,000x (reliably up to 700x in its present condition)
  • outputs to a CRT
  • non-digital, non-NTSC, non-PAL, analog output signal


Media: Vacuum_System_Operating_Instructions.pdf - How to start the pump

Media: ISI_Mini-TV_SEM_Manual-Troubleshooting-Reference_Guide.pdf - How to use and fix the SEM

Media: Specimen_Stage_Service_Request.pdf - Why the rotating stage is broken

Media: Cards.pdf - Historic docs

Media: Other_Docs.pdf - Repair notes

Media: Packing_Lists.pdf - Original Packing Lists, the contents of the shipping crate


Overall schematics for the TV MINI-SEM (Model: MRS-2-2 WN76-7-01). These schematics are for a model of SEM that is perhaps newer than than the SEM at Noisebridge. It is still an invaluable reference to the technician. Note: This schematic is a mosaic of 9 images stitched together with Hugin 2010.2.0. Some minor alignment issues exist in the content of the schematic. I think alignment can be guessed/interpreted accurately. Available in: LOW RES 1.5MB (4330 x 3109, posterized grayscale, JPEG) and HIGH RES 8MB (8680 x 6217, color, JPEG).

Media: Schematic_of_Photomultiplier.pdf‎

Media: Polaron_Pirani_Schematics-PE_Pir-SW_Issue_4_E5000.pdf - Polaron Pirani sputter coater schematics

Media: Polaron_Pirani_Gauge_Head_for_Sputter_Coater.pdf

Specimen Images

Image of mechanical pencil graphite on an aluminum slug at approximately 20x magnification. The specimen is about 1 mm across. Higher magnification images of this specimen are not available. Imaged by Chris Murphy and Mike Kan.
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