Carbon Evaporator

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Carbon Evaporator
Instrument Type Deposition,
Sample Prep for Microscopy
Techniques Carbon Deposition
Staff Manager Alireza Ghaffari
Staff Email
Staff Phone 626-395-3984
Reserve time on FBS
Request training via FBS User Dashboard
Lab Location B233 Steele
Lab Phone 626-395-5885
Manufacturer Leica
Model EM ACE600


For non-conductive specimens that cannot be effectively SEM- or FIB-imaged with some combination of low voltage, low current, zero detector bias, and scanning filters, depositing a thin (e.g. 2-10 nm), conductive layer of carbon on the surface can help. This carbon evaporator produces amorphous, conductive films, the morphology of which is not detectable in an SEM or FIB image. After imaging is complete, the carbon can be gently removed with an O2 plasma using, for example, the lab's Tergeo Plus Plasma Cleaner.

  • Coat material surface to make sample conductive for use in an SEM or FIB
  • Coat resist surface to make sample conductive for use with e-beam lithography
  • Apply carbon to a specimen or device for any other fabrication use


Equipment Data
The Carbon Evaporator source needs to be periodically disconnected from the instrument by the user so that the carbon thread can be changed; see the SOP and notes in the SOP section on this page for instructions on how to change the thread
SOP & Troubleshooting
  • SOP & Troubleshooting Guide
  • The procedure to install a new carbon thread can be found on Page 39 of the Operating Manual
    • Note: always install as a "double thread," i.e. double the thread back over itself before installing – a thread length that is approximately twice the length of the evaporator's door width is long enough to double over and install.
Technical Notes
Manufacturer Manual


Manufacturer Specifications
Carbon Evaporation Specifications
  • Average Deposition Rate: ~1 nm per pulse, when using a double thread (i.e. a thread that is doubled over on itself; see notes in SOP section above)
  • Monitor deposition thickness using the quartz crystal thickness monitor, or simply program the number of pulses that you want

Related Instrumentation in the KNI

Sample Preparation for Microscopy
Scanning Electron & Ion Microscopes