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Model 1020

Plasma Cleaner

Cleans specimens immediately before they are inserted into the electron microscope; removes existing carbonaceous debris from the specimen and prevents contamination from occurring during imaging and analysis. The Plasma Cleaner (shown with the Model 9020 Vacuum Pumping Station) automatically and quickly removes organic contamination (hydrocarbon) from electron microscopy specimens and specimen holders.

Plasma Cleaner

Contamination typically comes from several sources: inadvertent touching of specimens or specimen holders, back-streaming of oil from an oil diffusion pumped ion milling system, electron microscope column contamination, and adhesives or solvents used in the preparation process. Even when great care is taken to clean the specimen, standard cleaning methods are often not 100% successful.

Plasma cleaning removes existing carbonaceous debris from the specimen and prevents contamination from occurring during imaging and analysis. A low-energy, inductively coupled, high-frequency plasma effectively cleans a specimen surface without changing its elemental composition or structural characteristics. Highly contaminated specimens can be cleaned in 2 minutes or less. 

The plasma cleaner removes contamination from a wide variety of materials prepared by a variety of techniques. The specimen holder is inserted through a single port into the plasma chamber. The port contains a vacuum-sealing surface compatible with the specimen holder’s O-ring. Ports are easily interchangeable in as little as 10 seconds.

For cleaning specimens containing significant amounts of carbon or specimens mounted onto carbon support grids, shielded specimen holder ports are available that optimize the cleaning action of the plasma.

The Plasma Cleaner readily accepts side-entry specimen holders for all commercial TEMs and STEMs and can accept bulk specimens for cleaning before SEM or surface analysis. The Plasma Cleaner includes the customer's choice of specimen holder port, pumping port assembly, and blank plug assembly.

Ports are available for electron microscopes manufactured by:
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific/FEI Company/Philips Electron Optics

  • Hitachi High Technologies America Inc.

  • JEOL Ltd.

  • Carl Zeiss Microscopy/LEO Electron Microscopes

  • Topcon Corp.

Plasma cleaning of carbon films for transmission electron microscopy

Plasma cleaning of a specimen grid and side-entry holder eliminates mobile carbonaceous contaminants that may migrate to the vicinity of the electron beam. These contaminants obscure the area of interest during imaging and subsequent analysis.

Applications of plasma cleaning for electron microscopy of semiconducting materials

As semiconductor device sizes continue to decrease, the degree of accuracy needed for electron microscopy and microanalysis of such materials increases. To achieve such accuracy, small electron probes with high beam currents are needed. The combination of these two factors results in an increase in the amount of...

Improving automation for cryo-EM specimen preparation

We present a more reliable and efficient process of preparing cryo-EM grids using a plasma cleaner, Vitrobot, and Quantifoil grids. In our procedure the grids are plasma cleaned and then the sample is frozen within the hour on the Vitrobot.

Plasma cleaning and its applications for electron microscopy

The effectiveness of applying a high-frequency, low-energy, reactive gas plasma for the removal of hydrocarbon contamination from specimens and components for electron microscopy has been investigated with a variety of analytical techniques. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis of specimens that have been...

Plasma cleaning of carbonaceous samples using a shield

Plasma cleaning is a useful technique to clean transmission electron microscopy sample surfaces from carbon hydroxide. However, selective material removal rates can be hard to establish. As a result, carbonaceous samples are significantly impacted by the plasma process since by the very nature of an oxygen plasma...

Quantification of carbon contamination under electron beam irradiation in a scanning transmission electron microscope and its suppre...

We have measured the build-up of carbon surface contamination as a function of time and irradiated area size for various specimens...A Fischione plasma cleaner was then used to remove these carbon layers, and the rate of carbon removal has been determined for contamination spots produced in stationary spot mode...

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