FEI Co. designs, makes, and services systems used in analysis of nano-scale objects, particularly with regard to evaluating their 3-D shape. It's microscopes are extremely sophisticated pieces of equipment, costing an average $1 million. It's high end model, priced at $7 million, is capable of resolution down to one-half of one-billionth of a meter.
The company markets its products and services to a diverse customer base including electronic manufacturers, industrial material scientists, and life science research institutions. It's mainstay business is the semiconductor industry, but is expanding into the natural resources industry.
Electronic manufacturers continue to shrink their products while maintaining a need to properly analyze and evaluate individual parts. For this task they utilize nano-scale microscopes to check for defects.