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The third Super-Mini-SEM, ISI marketing shortened it to simply Super IIIA. However, the schematics still refer to it as the SMS-IIIA.

See SMS family page for schematics

JM has one

"SIII-A(K) (1976)"


Good overview of SEM filament types: Short Course.pdf Short Course.pdf

Trying to find replacement filaments. Takes the ISI three prong type

Prices as of 04/21/2014

Vendor Item # Description Price/pack Qty/pack Qty/each Notes
Ted Pella 1426 ISI / ABT / Topcon 3-pin 425.00 10 42.50
Electron Microscopy Sciences 81038

New Filament, 3-prong
416.00 10 41.60
Electron Microscopy Sciences 81038-R

Rebuilt Filament, 3-prong
1 32.00
SPI Supplies 5232N-BA Topcon/ISI 3-pin 525.49 10 52.55
SPI Supplies 5232RB-AB Topcon/ISI 3-pin (rebuilt) 1 41.57
EB Sciences ISIE Standard loop, 3 Prong 405.00 10 40.50
EB Sciences ISIE AR loop, 3 Prong 455.00 10 45.50
Fisher Scientific [&xrefPartType=From&savings=0.0&xrefEvent=1398144201666_2&searchType=PROD&hasPromo=0 50-290-87] NEW FILAMENT 3-PRONG 509.60 10 50.96
Soquelec A20135 ISI (2-prong, new) 1 68.10 NOTE: 2 prong for comparison
Soquelec A20140 ISI (2-prong, rebuilt) 1 39.00 NOTE: 2 prong for comparison
ME Taylor F-3 Topcon/ISI 3-pin style Filaments - Package of 10 275.00 10 27.50

EB Sciences

Has several filament types

Type AR

"The Energy Beam Sciences exclusive AR tip represents the state of art in filament technology. This special loop was developed for applications which demand the ultimate in mechanical stability and operating life. It is particularly recommended for use in multi-user environments and teaching laboratories. Its etched taper loop configuration and unique tip geometry enhance contrast and brightness, even at low kV. We can provide the AR loop mounted on any type of filament base. Whatever your application, you should see enhanced performance with the AR loop, when compared with the standard loop filament supplied by the EM equipment manufacturer."

Standard Loop

"Energy Beam Sciences Standard Loop Tungsten Filaments are designed to conform to Original Equipment Manufacturers' specifications across the industry. Our filaments are individually manufactured with careful attention to detail, maintaining their precise tip geometry and using superior assembly techniques and stringent quality control for consistency and dependability in even the most demanding applications. At Energy Beam Sciences, we offer cost effective, reliable solutions for these and all of your EM consumable needs. Please call our e-Beam product specialist today to find out more about our quality products!"

JM electron gun

Original unit that SEM came with.

XXX: supposedly this SEM takes a "three prong filament" and in fact has a three contact base. What is difference between the two types?

Wehnelt assembly:

Microscope sem isi super iii a gun apart1.jpg

Base it plugs into:

Microscope sem isi super iii a gun base.jpg

Taking off top retainer:

Microscope sem isi super iii a gun apart2.jpg

Removing the Wehnelt:

Microscope sem isi super iii a gun apart3.jpg

Note that the filament is slightly twisted to form the tip. Also, its burned out

Wehnelt bottom:

Microscope sem isi super iii a gun topbot.jpg

Side of the filament assembly

Microscope sem isi super iii a gun side1.jpgMicroscope sem isi super iii a gun side2.jpg

Filament tip:

Microscope sem isi super iii a gun tip.jpg

Everything together:

Microscope sem isi super iii a gun apart.jpg


Great resource on this model. Unfortunately, links to pages are hidden throughout the text so I've tried to index it a bit better. I also have mirrored the site in case it disappears:

These are less about the SEM and more about his particular logistics:


Wenol metal polish recommended for cleaning. MSDS lists

    • Ammonia Solution 25%: 1-5%
    • Kerosene 200-230: 10-20%
    • White Spirit 150/200N: 10-20%
    • Aluminum oxide (pigments): 25-35%
    • Coco fatty acid diethanolamide: 5-15%
    • Water: 35%

    • "Wenol® is widely used as cleaner and polish for electron microscope applications, ion beam systems, vacuum coating systems and general lab applications. Wenol® has been originally formulated for use on hard metal surfaces such as stainless steel. It can be used to clean and polish hard metal parts for vacuum systems. The carrier fluid dissolves in most hydrocarbons and is easily removed. Wenol® is petroleum based and does not contain silicones. It is not recommended for use on soft metal such as aluminum."

Ted Pella also has Unipol…not sure when to use one vs the other. Generic Wenol?

    • Aluminium oxide: 20-40
    • Ammonia solution: 0.1-5
    • Destillates (petroleum), hydrotreated light: 20-40
    • Naphtha (petroleum), hydrotreated light: 2.5-10

read somewhere 100ml ~= 3.4oz Wenol


Drawings in this section are from Lapointe's website

may consider replacing o-rings as the vacuum is sub-par. By the time I disassemble everything might as well replace them

"o-rings are labeled with their aerospace standard AS568A size"

High vacuum assembly

Microscope sem isi super iii a sem vacuum drawing.gif


    • ID: inner diameter
    • OD: outer diameter
    • CS: cross section

What is difference between nominal and actual size?

AS568A size ID OD CS Qty
011 1
013 1
118 2
128 1
141 1
214 1
215 2
216 1
220 2
221 1
222 2
226 1
233 1

Valve assembly

Microscope sem isi super iii a sem asbvalve drawing.gif

AS568A size Qty
006 1
121 2
123 1

Air valve

Relieves chamber to atmosphere for exchange while still allowing DP to keep hot

"I will not buy this air valve, it is scratched"

needs to be turned down on lathe or replaced

JM unit

Hz 50/60

has air filter on it

lapointe unit

has hose connector instead of air filter but otherwise same unit


The extra vacuum ports are likely intended for EDAX and in fact I did find one such unit.


All images in this section are from GovDeals

"You will be bidding on a International Scientific Instruments Model Super III A Scanning Electron Microscope. The unit was purchased in 1979 and converted to digital and updated in 1999. This unit comes with a Robinson Backscatter detector, Gresham Titan X-ray pulse-processor, 4PI digital imaging attachment, control computer and software. The agency is reporting the unit is operational except for the X-ray detector analyzer and the software is up to date (uses Macintosh OS9). There are miscellaneous spare parts, filament assemblies, a manual, schematics and a TMC anti-vibration platform is included…located on the Winthrop University Campus in Rock Hill, South Carolina."

This is by far the most pimped out unit I've found so far:

    • Computer image capture
    • Maybe computer control?
    • Robinson Backscatter detector (is that the special PMT assembly?)
    • Gresham Titan X-ray pulse-processor (for the EDS?)

Microscope sem isi super iii a govdeals 685 8058 10.jpgMicroscope sem isi super iii a govdeals 685 8058 2.jpgMicroscope sem isi super iii a govdeals 685 8058 3.jpgMicroscope sem isi super iii a govdeals 685 8058 4.jpgMicroscope sem isi super iii a govdeals 685 8058 5.jpgMicroscope sem isi super iii a govdeals 685 8058 7.jpgMicroscope sem isi super iii a govdeals 685 8058 8.jpgMicroscope sem isi super iii a govdeals 685 8058 9.jpg


How many L/min recommended?

References PES415 has a sort of instruction manual: [1]