eTraining Introduction

Specimen Preparation

Leica Ultracut UCT



Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM

Hitachi FB-2000A FIB


Veeco Dim 3000 AFM

Fluorescence Microscopes


Safety Procedures

Initial Settings

Do not assume that all the controls are properly set when you begin your session of the FESEM. The stage may have been left in the wrong position, or the EDS detector may have been left cranked in. Check the operating mode, the image resolution, and other operating settings before beginning. Use the Brief Operating Instruction sheet found in the lab.

Specimen Height

Height GaugeThe size of a specimen is constrained by the dimension of the specimen exchange port. Also, there must be adequate space between the top of the specimen and the bottom of the objective lens. The FESEM is commonly used at low accelerating voltages and small working distances in order to produce high-resolution images. The height gauge allows for accurate positioning of the specimen close to the lens. If the specimen is too tall and one decreases the working distance, there is a risk of hitting the lens, or worse, the EDS detector. Collisions with the lens can be avoided by observing the specimen position and height using the chamber camera.

Exchange Rod

Exchange RodThe specimen holder is attached to the exchange rod and is inserted into the specimen chamber. NOTE: the grease used to lubricate the rod is toxic; therefore, DO NOT TOUCH THE EXCHANGE ROD ITSELF!


The FESEM environment is kept under vacuum. This is to prevent the high voltage gun from creating an arc inside the microscope, and to keep the environment inside the scope clean. If the specimen chamber is accidentally vented, contact lab personnel immediately!

Electrical and General Safety

Liquid Nitrogen

LN2Liquid Nitrogen is an essential part of a working FESEM. It serves many purposes—mainly to keep the environment inside the scope free of contamination, and to stabilize the electron beam. Please use caution when working with LN2. Safety glasses and gloves are required!

See also Properties of LN2 under General Lab Safety in Support.

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