eTraining Introduction

Specimen Preparation

Leica Ultracut UCT



Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM

Hitachi FB-2000A FIB


Veeco Dim 3000 AFM

Fluorescence Microscopes


Odd Shapes - Fractures

For users who wish to analyze a rough surface of a specimen, say a fracture or a break site, the previous methods of mounting and polishing will not work. The integrity of the fractured surface is important, so nothing should touch it. Use plastic bags to keep the specimen clean—do not touch it with your hands. It is advisable to clean it in the ultrasonic cleaner first. The user has two options for holding irregular specimens: clamping or epoxy.

Tall Mount

The first option is to use a clamp mount, where the specimen is clamped into the SEM mount. Its sides are painted with carbon or carbon tape. The specimen is inserted directly into the SEM chamber.

Clamp Mount Clamp Mount

Short Mount

The second option is to glue the specimen onto a mount using double-sided carbon tape and then to place the mount in the specimen holder. This will work if the specimen is not very heavy or if it has a flat side that can be taped down. Otherwise you should use some type of glue like epoxy, superglue, or the like.

Infrared ChamberscopIMPORTANT

One very important aspect of mounting irregular specimens is the HEIGHT. Ideally, we want to limit the specimen height to 39 mm. That may be impossible with tall, irregular specimens. The danger with tall mounts is:

1. Running the specimen into the backscatter detector (located on the bottom of the objective lens), or

2. Running the specimen into the EDS detector.

See the Interactive Cutaway Tour under JEOL JSM-6400 SEM. If possible, cut your sample to a lower height.

Use the chamber camera to ensure that the specimen is away from these devices.

Top of Page