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(note: from Stefan Diller
to get colour in your SEM images:
- make good black and white images and add a lot of "Photoshop magic" to bring colour to the specimen
- use multiple detectors and perhaps also different kind of detectors (like SE or backscattered...) to get different signals back from the specimen and use these signals to attribute aesthetical colours to the image (and add some Photoshop magic...).
For example: I use the secondary electrons for getting a very fast separation of parts on specimen with a small interaction volume like hairs on insects or cells or substrate etc. The backscattered detectors (I have three) I use to get surfaces (topography) ad hoc separated in a different colour. You can also try to get more different images with different accelerating voltages and the best suited detectors for it... Also distance of the detectors to the specimen can make very different images...
There is a PDF from a MIKROKOSMOS article which describes my work, but only in German language: (1 MB).  I am using a digital image acquisition system from point electronic,, which can handle up to 8 detectors and scan up to 4 detectors in a resolution of max. 16kx16k pixel. The scanning software has the ability to directly mix the signals 
from the SEM into a coloured image.

(note from Paul Calloman (
There is an important distinction between jpegs and tiffs, apart from the loss of data incurred via jpeg compression. A tiff file retains the information for each color (Red, Green and Blue for RGB; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK for CMYK) in a separate channel, allowing colors to be balanced and adjusted relative to each other. A jpeg mixes them into a single channel (which is why it's one third or one quarter the size of a tiff), which means they can no longer be treated individually.
Nowadays a good jpeg will be accepted by many publishers, particularly for online publication, but for color-critical work most still insist on tiffs. 

1-Colorful SEM photos, some in 3D by David Scharf

2-Images from Montana State University remote access SEM
3-Cellular Imaging Shared Service
From Tom Goddard, UCSF:  Our Chimera work is funded by an NIH biotechnology resource center grant and an important aim is public outreach. Feel free to copy our images and videos.

4-Picasa, Fotopedia: Scanning Electron Microcospe Images
5-Pages 1-4 contains albums of Scanning Electron Microcospe images 
6-Nanographic Art Gallery
7-Virtual control of magnification, brightness and contrast for various bugs.

8-Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Image Collection

9-Slides of various presentations from Scale, Bugs and other subjects for Elementary Schools (some use SEMs)

10-Art created using SEM images  with dramatic music and zoom.

11-Science as Art:  SEM images 

12-Images of Pollen Grains
13-SEM images for in class demonstrations.

14-Images from the Sea

15-Building materials - SEM Images of 16 materials (fairly low magnification).

16-Beautiful images of diatoms and other microfossil phenomena:

     From the University College of London:

17-Image web site by Stefan Diller: in German but translatable.

20-Colored Biological SEM images from

21-Images from Kevin. J. Carpenter, scientist, microscopist, researcher, consultant.  Kevin was formerly with Lawrence Livermore Labs.

Set up a google alert to receive every SEM image which becomes available on the internet.  Alerts will be sent directly to your mailbox.

Margo Gill-Linscott,
Oct 15, 2010, 12:34 AM