Sample Preparation

Sectioning thin slices for TEM (ultramicrotome)

Leica 125 Ultracut Microtome with cryo

For microtoming thin sections of TEM samples.

Leica EM UC7 Ultramicrotome with cryo FC7

From leica.com:

"The Ultramicrotome Leica UC7 provides easy preparation of semi- and ultrathin sections as well as perfect, smooth surfaces of biological and industrial samples for TEM, SEM, AFM and LM examination. Combining ergonomic design and innovative technology the Ultramicrotome Leica EM UC7 sets new standards in Ultramicrotomy. It offers a range of outstanding features and benefits of use for the ultramicrotomist, whether highly skilled or absolute beginners.

Glass knives for ultramicrotomy

  • Leica Glass Knife cutter EM KMR2

Diamond knives for ultramicrotomy

  • Diatome Ultra 25 - A special Ultra-series diamond knife with 25° cutting angle.
  • Diatome Ultra 35 (3 pcs) - The ultra 35° knives are perfect for sectioning relatively soft materials research specimens including metals and polymers, as well as hard specimens such as semiconductors, superconducting oxides, catalysts, nano-crystalline ceramics, etc.
  • Diatome Histo - The histo knife is designed for the sectioning of hard and soft biological and material research specimens, non embedded or embedded in acrylic or epoxy resins.
  • Diatome Histo Jumbo - For 3D reconstruction it is imperative not to lose a single section.
  • Diatome Cryo 25 (2 pcs) - The cryo 25° knife is designed for sectioning frozen hydrated specimens. The 25° angle results in the least possible compression and the best structure preservation.
  • Diatome Cryo 35 (3 pcs) - The cryo 35° knife has demonstrated its usefulness as a standard knife for the low temperature sectioning of polymers, rubber, paints, etc. The 35° angle represents a balanced compromise between section quality and durability.
  • Diatome Cryo Wet 35 (2 pcs) - The cryo 45° knife mounted in the trough is used for sectioning with fluids such as a DMSO/water mixture.
  • Diatome Histo Cryo 45 - The histo cryo knives are delivered with a boat for wet sectioning using a DMSO/water mixture or in triangular holders for dry sectioning. They are made from a special copper-nickel alloy, which guarantees the best possible thermal conduction.
  • Diatome Ultrasonic 35 - The Ultrasonic knife produces ultrathin sections almost free of compression.The sections become thinner at the same thickness setting: since the volume of the section remains the same, the increased length leads to a decrease in thickness.
  • Diatome Ultratrim 45 - For successful ultramicrotomy in biology and materials science, precise trimming is mandatory. The Ultratrim 45 allows quick, easy and accurate trimming.
  • Diatome Cryotrim 20 (2 pcs) - For trimming at cryo temperatures. The Cryotrim 20 produces pyramidal sides with an inclined angle of 20°.
  • Diatome Cryotrim 45 (3 pcs) - For regular trimming at cryo temperatures. The Cryorim 45 produces pyramidal sides with an inclined angle of 45°.

Sample vitrification for cryo-TEM (vitrobot)

FEI Vitrobot

Automated vitrifying equipment for cryo-TEM sample preparation.

FEI Vitrobot Mark IV

From FEI.com:
"The next-generation Vitrobot™ Mark IV, a fully automated vitrification device for plunge-freezing of aqueous (colloidal) suspensions, meets the demands of modern science. Its newly designed touch-screen user interface is robust and easy to use and its robotics guarantee high-quality, reproducible sample freezing and a high sample throughput."

  • Fully automated, reproducible vitrification of suspensions 
  • High vitrification quality through controlled environment
  • High sample throughput
  • Easy and flexible instrument control
  • Semi-automated grid transfer

Plasma cleaner

Gatan Solarus (Model 950)

A plasma cleaning system for hydrophilization of TEM carbon grids and removing contaminants from SEM samples.

From gatan.com:
"An advanced plasma cleaning system for removal of hydrocarbon contamination on TEM and SEM samples. Solarus is a new generation plasma system engineered on new concepts and the latest technology resulting in better performance, simplified use and consistent cleaning results."

TEM sample preparation

  • Gatan 691 Precision Ion Polishing System (PIPS) with cryo
  • For preparation of cross-sections samples of hard materials (Si, metals, etc.)

Diamond cutters

  • South Bay Technologies, Inc. Model 850 Abrasive Slurry Saw
  • Allied TechCut 4 diamond blade saw

Mechanical polishing

  • Allied High Tech Products Multiprep
  • Struers LaboPol-4
  • Struers Knuth Rotor

Electrochemical polishing

  • Struers electrolytical polishing station

Dimple grinder

  • Gatan Model 656 Dimple Grinder

Ultrasonic cutter

  • Gatan Model 601 Ultrasonic  Disc Cutter

SEM sample preparation

Gatan Ilion+ Model 691 (with cryo) cross-section polisher

From www.gatan.com:
"The Gatan Ilion+ is a significant advance in the preparation of planar cross sections from difficult samples for microscopic imaging and microanalysis. The Ilion+ design is based on the proven Gatan PIPS (Precision Ion Polishing System). The system is easy to operate allowing users to begin making samples quickly."

Sputtering and carbon coating for SEM

Emitech K950X

Carbon coating system (high vacuum).

Emitech K350

Sputtering head for K950X. Uses 60 mm targets, including Au, Au/Pd, Pt, Ag, Fe.

Emitech K100X

Glow discharge apparatus, which can also be used for sputtering. Uses the same targets as K350X.

Leica EM ACE 600

Carbon thread evaporator and sputtering in the same process. Features also an in-situ film thickness measurement (QCM).

Biological sample drying for SEM

Baltec CPD030 CO2 critical point dryer

For drying biological samples.

Film thickness measurement

Mitutoyo digital film thickness measurement

Mitutoyo film thickness measurement

Optical microscopy

Polarized optical microscopes

  • Nikon polarized optical microscope with transmitted and incident light. JVC KY-F55B CCD camera.
  • Leica optical polarized microscope with transmitted and incident light plus fluorescence. Leica CCD camera.
  • Leitz polarized optical microscope

Stereo microscopes

  • 3x Leica S6E
  • Leica S6D with camera mount
  • 2x Leica S4E
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Nanomicroscopy Center

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