Three decades ago, when I was at high school, and even in early university years, I was fascinated with biology and specially botany. I acquired a good conventional optical microscope and got custom fixtures made for SLR cameras to take pictures. I managed to scan some of those I could find on my page on photomicroscopy. I was endlessly fascinated by seeing the patterns on pollen grains and chloroplasts inside plant cells.
I always hit the limit on what optical microscopes can see, even with an oil immersion lens. The depth of focus was always very shallow and I had to prepare stuff before seeing much. I kept reading on electronic microscopes, both scanning and tunneling, and only dreaming of ever operating one.
Perhaps in my lifetime it can be more affordable as an item for the hobbyist.
So, would you pay $5-10k for an SEM that was relatively simple and easy to maintain?