The Cost of a Scanning Electron Microscope

Is your Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) still able to produce high-quality results? A SEM, in conjunction with your EDS system, is a significant investment, so considering what to do when your tool isn’t cutting it can be daunting. If your application demands high-quality microscopic images that you can’t achieve with your current tool, you’ll need to make a change. When this is the case, how much should you expect to budget to solve your problem?

Factors Affecting the Cost of a Scanning Electron Microscope

SEMs are not one-size-fits-all, which means that costs can vary dramatically depending on your unique requirements. Some factors that impact costs include:

  • Target resolution: Field Emission (FEG) vs Tungsten Imaging Resolution
  • Component parts: High Vacuum vs Low Vacuum Systems
  • Configurations
  • Configurations: Column & Stage Configurations
  • Image display: Accessories Required including EDS

Take the time to analyze your application to determine what you need from your SEM system before you start looking for a replacement. A customized SEM will naturally be more expensive, but it will also perform as expected and provide you with the tools and information you need for your application.

Your Options and the Associated Costs

With these factors in mind, what can you expect to pay?

You have a few options. Depending on your needs, you can invest in a new Scanning Electron Microscope, purchase a refurbished SEM, or upgrade your SEM. The cost will depend on which path you choose.

Invest in a New Scanning Electron Microscope

If you’re looking for an advanced, top-of-the-line system, it may be time to invest in a brand new microscope — but while the new technology can be enticing, keep in mind this is the most expensive option. Depending on your needs and the technology specifications, you can expect to pay $150,000 to well over $1,000,000.

Purchase a Refurbished Scanning Electron Microscope

Purchasing a high-quality refurbished Scanning Electron Microscope is a much less expensive option — assuming it can meet your application’s requirements. A refurbished SEM from SEMTechSolutions ranges in price from $65,000 – $150,000. When purchasing a refurbished SEM from SEMTechSolutions, it will include the SEMView8000, a universal SEM operator’s console that provides a Win11 SEM user interface and all new electronics to power the SEM column.

Upgrade Your Current Scanning Electron Microscope

When your current technology isn’t meeting your needs, you may think your only option is to replace it with new technology. However, this doesn’t have to be the end of the line for your Scanning Electron Microscope. One option worth consideration is to upgrade your existing technology.

Our Win11 SEMView8000 makes it easy to upgrade your SEM at a fraction of the cost of replacement. Why consider the upgrade path?

  • Target resolution: Field Emission (FEG) vs Tungsten Imaging Resolution
  • Increase Performance beyond your original SEM’s specifications.
  • Improve Reliability with dedicated service support infrastructure.
  • Enhance Security with improved network or cloud storage and the most recent anti-virus protection.
  • Drive Collaboration with ultra-fast network connections between groups.
  • Save Money by upgrading the most important part of your SEM (electronics and software) rather than shopping for new.


Upgrading your existing technology requires significantly less money and will allow you to make the most of the SEM you already have. When you upgrade your SEM with SEMView8000, you can expect to pay $42,500 – $60,000

Solving Your Problem with SEMTech Solutions

No matter what direction is best, you need to ensure you’re making the right decision for you and your team. Not sure where to begin? SEMTech Solutions is made up of SEM experts who can help you determine the best fit for your application — and the most cost-effective way to get there.

Want to learn more? Reach out to us! We’d love to have a conversation.