We present a recently developed method using a field emission scanning electron microscope (FEG) to view and photograph microfossil specimens that are not coated by conductive material. The FEG microscope provides high electron flux and offers the option to capture images at low beam voltage. Balancing incident energy with absorbed energy from the detector leads to charge-free images of non-conductive material.
As an example of the application, we show images of planktonic foraminifers and ostracods obtained with this method and compare them with those obtained on the same specimens after gold coating. The method is particularly useful for illustrating holotypes, neotypes and topotypes of microfossils when an environmental scanning electron microscope is not available.