Sample Preparation

The success of an electron microscopic analysis depends largely on the quality of the sample preparation. A TEM sample should not exceed a thickness of 50-100 nm, for high-resolution TEM, the limit is a few 10 nm. Suitable thin samples of bulk materials can be mechanically prepared in the laboratories of the EMC-M as a microtome section, by means of ion beam etching as lamella or by combined grinding and ion thinning. Moreover, avoiding a clean surface contamination and charging effects during observation improves the accuracy of spectroscopic analysis. For this purpose, the sample may be treated with a plasma cleaner. For native preparation of objects in an aqueous environment, such as protein complexes, an automated cryogenic plunger along with cryogenic transfer-holders is available. Suspended nanoparticles and powder can be dispersed and dried by means of an ultrasonic atomizer on the sample carrier.