Principal In-house Analytical Methodologies
Between these top two performing SEMs, there is virtually no down time,
and furthermore there is the capability of turning out very large
quantities of work in very short periods of time.
SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy)
Two JEOL Model 840 SEMs are the core of the SEM capability. Capable of
high resolution in the secondary electron mode of operation, interfaced to
the instrument is a Tracor (now NORAN Instruments) energy dispersive
x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) system and also an Oxford/Hexland cryo-transfer
mechanism and stage for low temperature "cryo" studies on all types of
materials. This particular SEM was built to handle unusually large
specimens. Observation of any point on the surface of objects 4" (100mm)
in diameter is routine, and specimens as long as 8" (200mm) can be examined
with some limitations. Such large specimen capability is of great
importance and value for many court important samples that just can
not be cut up and examined destructively.
Intergranular fracture surface of steel, Mag. 2600 X. Work done in
Henry Kaker, Manager
Ancillary sample preparation capabilities include sputter coating in an
SPI Module Sputter Coater
with gold, 60% gold/palladium alloy, platinum, and silver and also, carbon coating in an
SPI Module Carbon Coater for EDS studies. There is also the possibility
for sputter etching in the sputter coater, reactive plasma etching in an
SPI Plasma Prep II Plasma Etcher
for isotropic etching. For those samples requiring ultra high resolution,
we can also offer a unique osmium coating capability on the
OPC osmium plasma coater.
For the preparation of wet samples, there is the possibility of
critical point drying in an SPI Critical Point Dryer.
For the handling of environmentally sensitive materials, such as catalysts that are
sensitive to oxygen and/or moisture, there is the possibility of doing
all sample preparation in a completely dry environment followed by
insertion of the specimen into the vacuum of the SEM while still being
kept in the protected environment.
A variety of other specialized specimen preparation techniques are
available including the use of special replication techniques for the
replication of "wet" surfaces including
human skin. Another highly popular non-traditional services is our ability to
photograph human hair unmetallized
without the need to resort to non-traditional SEM methodologies, and at the same
time to demonstrate what certain products are in fact doing to human hair that just
could not be demonstrated any other way.
For Information on FEES for SEM.
TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy)
The core capability is based on a JEOL 100CX analytical TEM with full
capability for selected area electron diffraction and darkfield
electron microscopy and a Tracor (now NORAN Instruments) EDS system.
Full tilt capabilities are available on the goniometer stage which also
permit the taking of micrographs as stereo pairs.
Ancillary capabilities include two different vacuum evaporators (
SPI Vacu Prep,
Denton DV 502), Gatan duo beam ion mill for full ion beam
thinning capability, "Dimpler" for use in the first step toward the
preparation of silicon wafer samples for TEM, complete equipment for
tripod polishing and also full capabilities for the thin foiling of
Complete Pt/C replication capabilities are available using the
SPI Vacu Prep vacuum evaporator.
Pt/C shadowing of solution grown
crystals of poly-3, 3-bis
Garber, C. A., and P. H. Geil,
J. Appl. Phys., 4034 (1966)
Complete ultra microtomy capabilities are available via three different
ultra microtomes, one of which is a Leica/Reichert Ultracut E
ultra microtome equipped with a Model FC4E cryo stage for cryo
ultramicrotomy. With this capability it is possible to produce ultra
thin sections for TEM of even the most soft of polymers including
On average, a selection of about twelve different diamond knives,
exhibiting various angles, and states of deterioration of the knife
edges are available to apply for whatever types of samples might be
presented. Of course some samples require essentially a brand new
pristine diamond knife edge and since SPI Supplies manufactures and
distributes its own brand of diamond knives, new knives are readily
We have broken our TEM services down into several different categories:
EDS (Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy)
EDS is possible either on the JEOL Model 840 SEM or the JEOL 100CX
Analytical TEM using EDS systems supplied by Tracor (now Noran
Instruments). In the case of analytical TEM work, special techniques
have been developed for producing stable samples capable of withstanding
the electron beam for long periods while doing selected area electron
diffraction, dark field elctron microscopy, and even electron energy loss
For Information on FEES for EDS.
LM (Light Microscopy)
The core capability is based on Vickers and Bausch & Lomb light
set up with full range of lenses for both tranmitted and reflected light over
all magnification ranges and including phase contrast microscopy, polarized
light microscopy, and dispersion staining.
For certain samples where thin sectioning is required, we can apply our
somewhat unique capability involving ultra microtomy for preparing
thick sections of whatever thickness might be required.
For Information on FEES for Light Microscopy.
QIA (Quantitative Image Analylsis)
QIA is done using the SPI-Quant
(TM)II Image Analyzing Computer.
This proprietary system, which is available for sale through SPI Supplies, uses
CCD television technology and the Image ProPlus software package to provide a
wide range of image analysis capabilities. Typical applications include particle
size characterization, percent void area, fiber length and phase distribution
analysis. Input can be through direct imaging reflected, or transmitted light
microscopy, or electron microscopy. Scanning and transmission electron images
are input through micrographs.
For Information on FEES for QIA.
We have in house capabilities to prepare almost any type of metallographic
specimen, including both Bakelite and Epoxy Embedding as well as conventional and
For Information on FEES for Metallography.
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