Scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) are the dominant tool for electronic device testing, failure analysis, and characterization. This status was not apparent, however, when the first commercial SEM, the Cambridge Stereoscan, appeared in 1963. A market survey by the manufacturer at that time predicted total sales of six to ten units worldwide. For the last four decades, SEMs have sold at an average rate of one unit every 24 hours, with two out of every three instruments destined for the semiconductor industry.

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