Optimizing EM Sample Preparation

Work-Package 3

Specimen preparation is known to be a limiting factor for many investigations using TEM. With the latest instrumental advances (aberration correctors, monochromators, new detectors, etc.), sample preparation continues to remain a bottleneck for optimal scientific results. For this reason, this activity is focused on optimization of TEM sample preparation procedures in order to obtain electron transparent specimens for TEM observations that are representative of the true microstructure, atomic structure and chemical composition of a range of starting material. In order to achieve this, the major problems in specimen preparation will be tackled, including the reduction of amorphous layers on prepared samples, obtaining samples with uniform thickness, minimization of redeposition in FIB or ion milling, prevention of preferential thinning in case of composite materials and cleaning surfaces and removing contamination from wedge-polished samples. As a result, optimized standardized preparation procedures for selected materials will be documented to enable the preparation of electron transparent specimens of various materials with optimum thickness for observation at different accelerating voltages, with sufficient artifact free, thin regions. The obtained protocols will be disseminated to the EM scientific community.

Partners involved

Jozef Stefan Institute Ljubljana (Work-Package leader);
MPG Stuttgart  (WP co-leader); CNRS/CEMES Toulouse;
Universiteit Antwerpen; TU Graz; 
Universidad de Zaragoza;  AGH Krakow


Miran Ceh (Jozef Stefan Institute – Ljubljana)
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Peter A. van Aken (MPG Stuttgart)
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