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.
Carl Zeiss Microscopy/LEO Electron Microscopes