eTraining Introduction

Specimen Preparation

Leica Ultracut UCT



Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM

Hitachi FB-2000A FIB


Veeco Dim 3000 AFM

Fluorescence Microscopes



Handling Policy

GlovesWe recommend wearing gloves for handling specimens to be observed in any of the microscopes, but REQUIRE gloves for handling specimens in the FESEM. We do this to keep the environment inside the column free of contamination from specimens. Remember, the microscope is under vacuum and that environment will liberate contamination from the specimen into the chamber/column. The result is degradation of microscope performance. Furthermore, any dust, fibers or particles on your specimen will likely be found at the exact location of the most important area. Finally, dirt, fibers, and other debris can become attached to vacuum seals, producing a vacuum leak that disables the microscope.


Each and every specimen put into an SEM should be clean, and free of dust and debris. The cleaning procedure varies depending on the type and shape of specimen you are using.


In order to keep your specimen clean, it must be stored in an environment that most resembles the SEM sample chamber environment. It is unlikely that your specimen is going to be kept under constant vacuum during storage. Nevertheless, it should be stored in a place where dust from the circulating air will be unable to reach it. Try using, for example, an air-tight container or an upside down beaker for storage. Commonly, desiccators are used. Most SEM suppliers stocks various types of containers and desiccators.


When transporting a specimen to the lab, keep it in the air-tight storage container. If you must transfer your sample from one container to another (eg. from a desiccator to a portable plastic box), the only condition should be that the specimen is fixed to the bottom so that it cannot be shaken when the box moves. This can be achieved by using double-sided tape in a petri dish or special boxes with pre-molded cavities.

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