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Electron Microscopy Sciences

Technical Data Sheets

Mechanical Preparation and Embedding Step-by-Step

EMS Catalog #50110-XTEM

Application Note

Method

  1. Cut an about 10x10mm piece from the studied material (e.g. from a Si wafer) and glue it by a transparent thermoplastic glue on a glass plate. In order to protect the top thin films during the cutting it should face to the glass.
  2. Two pieces of Si in size of 1.5x0.5mm are cut with the help of Microsaw using the 0.15 thick diamond wheel.
  3. The two pieces of Si are placed face to face to the central slot of the Ti Disc
  4. To fit the samples mechanically into the Ti disc use the HSS Tool's No. 2.
  5. To fill up the space between the Si and the Ti disc a powdery ION beam resistant glue is used: put a small mount of this powder onto an Al foil on the top of the hot plate of Microheat. The melting powder has to be thoroughly mixed in order to eliminate bubbles in it.
  6. Put the samples mounted into the Ti disc into the melted glue to fill up the gaps between the Si and Ti disc. The polymerization happens within 2 hours at 150°C. Before the next step of the preparation the surplus of solidified glue has to be removed with the help of the HSS tool's No. 1.
  7. Now you can start with grinding and polishing of both sides of the sample with the Micropol machine.
  8. First glue the Ti disc with the sample on the top of the steel stab of the Micropol with the transparent thermoplastic glue. There is a special socket on the stage of the Microheat for this purpose. It can be done easily under stereomicroscope.
  9. Polishing takes place in three steps using three different bowls of Micorpol provided with
    1. SiC paper
    2. Diamond paste of 10µm grain size
    3. Diamond paste of 1µm grain size
  10. The whole polishing process has to also be repeated on the other side of the material: put the stab of the Micropol back to the hot plate in order to remove the sample, then flip and glue it again. Please note, that the stab and the surface of the sample must be parallel.
  11. Then start the polishing procedure of the other side of the Ti disc. Polish the sample down to about 50µm using SiC paper. If you are close enough to the required thickness, finish polishing with the 2. and 3. bowls.
  12. For removing the sample from the steel slab of Micropol put it back to the hot stage of Microheat in order to melt the glue. Then carefully separate it from the rod using tweezers and clean it with solvent. Now the Ti disc including the sample is ready to place it into the sample holder of an ion mill.

Product Information

Instrumentation: Spark Cutter, Micro Diamond Saw, and Micro Hotplate