Application Highlight: Sample Plasma Cleaning for Microscopy

TEM Sample Plasma Cleaning

Below, we examine the effectiveness of a Henniker Plasma Cleaner for holey carbon grid preparation used in TEM/SEM Microscopy. The work, summarised here, was completed using our HPT-100 Plasma Cleaning System with our Jeol TEM sample holder adapter.


Pictured above: the Henniker TEM Plasma Cleaning System


Using the Henniker HPT-100 Plasma Cleaner, with Jeol TEM adapter, and continuously variating the power output from 0-100W and dual digital MFC gas mixing, we introduced the samples via the front feedthough adapter. They were cleaned with Ar:O2 95:5 mixture at low power (20W and 50W) in 30sec time steps.

Results & Conclusion

Results show the cleaning progression for selected thinned analysis regions illustrating controlled removal of carbon followed by gradual loss from the thicker walls. The images, included in the application note, were taken from an identical location using a TEM they display a finder holey carbon grid showing a gradual loss of carbon from a small thinned area of the grid. First the thinned carbon was removed (or eaten away). Then the thick walls were observed to lose carbon from the edges.

In conclusion the Henniker plasma cleaner was observed to be suitable for TEM preparation purposes because Henniker Plasma Systems offer amazing control over how much carbon is removed from sample grids. It was proven as a suitable for catalyst samples on carbon for hydrocarbon contamination cleaning in the TEM.

Read our full application note here

Our low cost plasma cleaners / plasma ashers for TEM sample holders are designed specifically for fast and efficient cleaning.

The TEM sample plasma cleaners / plasma ashers are fully automated and comes with standard adapters which are suitable for the sample holders supplied with all the major microscope manufacturers. The plasma output power is fully variable over the range 0-100W, resulting in a very controllable & gentle cleaning process. Common sources of error inside the TEM are clearly reduced with plasma cleaning and the dwell time during the measurement is significantly increased.

Tem Plasma Cleaner /  Plasma Asher options:

The TEM plasma cleaner / plasma asher is an application specific solution for low pressure plasma cleaning and preparation of electron microscopy samples, including:

  • Low power operation
  • Front feed of TEM sample holder
  • Multiple TEM grids and SEM stub cleaning
  • Re-entrant style sample holder introduction
  • Dual gas inlets for O2/Ar and other gases

For more information on TEM plasma cleaners please contact us today.

Or you can visit us when we attend the dedicated annual show held by the Society of Electron Microscopy Technology.


SEMT | 2019 11th December 2019 | NHM London |
More information on the event can be found here.


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