Samples for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) should have a thickness of only a few nanometers to be penetrated by the electron beam. Therefore a special preparation of the samples is necessary. Dimple grinders are the most common and frequently used machines for the preparation of TEM samples. However, they are limited in their usage to the creation of samples with concave surfaces and a small limited sample area. In cases of inhomogeneous material, where the correct place of the sample to be investigated is hard to define, this would be of some disadvantage. It would thus be more desirable to prepare a bigger sample area, as it is the case with wedge-shaped samples. To prepare wedge-shaped samples separate (expensive) grinding and polishing machines are necessary.
It was thus the aim to develop a TEM preparation method that uses well known preparation steps with an apparatus available in nearly all laboratories, in certain cases even without the need of further ion milling and thus avoiding the formation of artefacts within the samples. Our additional preparation tool now enables to create such samples from various bulk materials. The rotary move¬ment of the dimple grinder will now be transmitted into translational motion. This backwards and forwards movement is essential to avoid the formation of grooves and to ensure a uniform and smooth removal of bulk material.
Preparation of TEM specimen and also applicable to SEM measurements
Figure 1: dimple grinder with attachment; (2) guide - fits to the base of the dimple grinder; (3) carriage - is conducted by the cam gear and thus moved back and forth; (4) cam gear - is placed on turntable and fixed by magnetic forces, adjustable and with a hole for transmitted light observations.
Very large field of view, adjustable up to 2 mm
One sample instead of random examination
Wedge-shaped TEM samples without the need for additional ion milling
[...] further benefits online
Technology Readiness Level
Prototype system (TRL: 6)