The results of the first experiments with test samples, tool steel and polycrystalline Sn carried out with the scanning photoemission microscope built on the ELETTRA storage ring in Trieste are presented and discussed. The scanning photoemission microscope uses a zone plate optical system for demagnification of the photon beam to submicron dimensions. The present performance of the microscope in photoemission allows elemental and chemical mapping and small-spot photoelectron spectroscopy with lateral resolution better than 200 nm. The reported results show how photoemission microscopy can distinguish the spatial distribution of carbide phases with different Fe content at the surface of a tool steel and the correlation between inhomogeneous oxidation of a polycrystalline Sn sample and its grain structure. (C) 1977 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.