Director, Eugene Cameron Electron Microprobe
Weeks Hall Room 306
1215 West Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53706
I have been using electron probes since 1985: the old MAC at the Geophysical Lab in the mid 1980s, the Smithsonian's ARL-SEMQ 1989-91, Johns Hopkins' JEOL 8600 1991-92, UW's old ARL-SEMQ 1992-93, and our current Cameca SX51 (1993-today).
The electron probe is a "specialized SEM on steroids": its forte is accuracy in microanalysis, because
(1) it explicitly uses standards (so results are not artifically normalized to 100 wt%, thus has built in QC/reality check),
(2) it has very high spectral resolution and can resolve otherwise impossible (by EDS) peak overlaps,
(3) it has low detection limits so trace element measurements are possible in many cases,
(4) we can accurately measure elements as light as B, and
(5) we can accurately measure thin films and coatings either using (a) the multiple voltage technique or (b) low voltages in certain specific cases.