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A new tool providing material contrast control in scanning electron microscopy(SEM) is demonstrated. The approach is based on deep-UV illumination during SEM imaging and delivers a novel material based contrast as well as higher resolution due to the photoelectric effect. Electrons liberated from illuminated sample surface contribute to the imaging which can be carried out at a faster acquisition rate, provide material selective contrast, reduce distortions caused by surface charging, and can substitute metalcoating in SEM. These features provide high fidelity SEM imaging and are expected to significantly improve the performance of electron beam instruments as well as to open new opportunities for imaging and characterization of materials at the nanoscale.


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