SPI Supplies

Polymer Support Film Materials for TEM Grids

For making highest quality filmed grids


A number of different polymers have been developed over the years for the casting of films for support films on TEM grids. This wide range of materials represent a broad range of different polymer properties, beam stabilities, solubilities in different liquids, ease of film casting, hazardous vs. non-hazardous properties from the standpoint of shipping, etc.

The one thing these support film materials have in common is that they are all produced from the highest purities available and the solvents used are of the highest purity available and are free of extraneous particulates down to 0.45 µm in size.

While it is certainly true that the making of good support films does take a lot of practice, it is also a real "art" as well. Now one can not teach on a website that intangible thing called "art", but we can pass on some of the advice and experience of our master grid coaters.

There is also a lot of mystery if not also confusion, surrounding the correct choice of support resin for a particular application. For example, some times the same polymer is known by different trade names in different parts of the world, and someone trying to reproduce some one else's results, often times, but unnecessarily, tries to obtain a cited resin when in fact, what they already have in their laboratory is just what they need. So we have unbundled the information, and made it easy to understand, which of the resins are generically of the same polymer. However, this should not be construed to mean that we are saying that a generic name, such as polyvinyl formal, sold under different trade names, is indeed the same identical material, because rarely is that indeed the case. But for most users, these differences are probably small compared to the differences between different polymers. But for one wanting continuity in their experiments and their preparation procedures, whatever it is that you are using, should be found in the following list.

Polyvinyl formal
Formvar® Resin for Electron Microscopy
Vinylec® (Formvar replacement) Resin

Polyvinyl butyral
Butvar® B-98 Resin
Pioloform® Resin for Electron Microscopy

Nitrocellulose-based polymers
Collodion Resin
Parlodion® Strips
Pyroxylin Resin

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