eTraining Introduction

Specimen Preparation

Leica Ultracut UCT



Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM

Hitachi FB-2000A FIB


Veeco Dim 3000 AFM

Fluorescence Microscopes



Specimen Holders by Instrument


If an FESEM or 6400 SEM sample holder is dropped in the chamber, contact lab personnel immediately and we will resolve the problem. DO NOT drop the TEM or FIB holders—they will be ruined! Please handle with care as they are also very expensive.

Click to enlarge images.

Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM

This specimen holder is composed of four parts. There are many different configurations, each adapted to a different sample shape. This holder should be handled with gloves. Why? The rule that applies to specimen handling is the same in this situation as well. See Handling under Specimen Preparation. The total height of the holder plus your specimen should not exceed 29 mm as measured with the height gauge we provide. Failure to correctly position the height will prevent you from accurately placing the specimen at the desired working distance. Also, the height limitation is to ensure the sample can be safely inserted into the scope without causing damage.


There are a couple of specimen holder options for this SEM. Each has its own unique function, but all can be handled without gloves. The holders often get quite dirty with their continued use, and cleaning is essential in maintaining a constant environment inside the scope. To clean, scrape off as much of the carbon paint/tape as possible and sonicate them in two consecutive acetone baths for ten minutes each. Finish with a ten minute ethanol bath in the sonicator. (This is normally done by the lab staff!)


This holder is especially designed as both the sample holder and the exchange rod; therefore, handle with caution, as it is expensive! This holder may be touched without gloves, with the exception of the area past the o-ring. The area from the o-ring to the sample tip SHOULD NOT BE TOUCHED. That section needs to be especially clean! Any dirt or debris touching the o-ring impairs the ability of the microscope to hold a vacuum in the chamber. The holder has a special sleeve which goes over that area when not in use. It should be stored on its stand on the table.

NOTE: The single-tilt 2 position stage is shown. There are several other TEM stages.

Hitachi FB-2000A FIB

This holder is very similar to that of the TEM. Its integrated design includes both the sample holder and the exchange rod. As with the TEM, the section of rod from the o-ring to the tip should not be touched. A plastic sleeve protects this area when the holder is not inside the scope. This holder has a special stand upon which it rests when not in use. It should be stored in the airtight, transparent box located in the instrument room.

NOTE: The rotating stage is shown. There are several other FIB stages.

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