SPI Supplies

Principal In-house Analytical Methodologies


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 collaboration with SEM/EDS Laboratory, Henry Kaker, Manager
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.

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 metallurgical samples.

    Complete Pt/C replication capabilities are available using the SPI Vacu Prep vacuum evaporator.

    Pt/C shadowing of solution grown
    single 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 PTFE.

    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 available.

    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 spectroscopy (EELS).

  • For Information on FEES for EDS.

  • LM (Light Microscopy)

    The core capability is based on Vickers and Bausch & Lomb light microscopes 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.

  • Metallography

    We have in house capabilities to prepare almost any type of metallographic specimen, including both Bakelite and Epoxy Embedding as well as conventional and diamond polishing.

  • For Information on FEES for Metallography.

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