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This article presents simulation and experimental results for add-on transmission attachments that have been developed for the scanning electron microscope (SEM). A primary beam energy of around 30 keV is used to irradiate thin test specimens (≪100 nm). A transmission lens attachment enables a conventional field emission SEM to improve its image resolution by an order of magnitude, providing an image magnification of several million and a spatial resolution down to 0.3 nm. In addition, a compact energy electron loss spectrometer attachment has been developed that uses the SEM’s built-in secondary electron detector. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.