TEM Sample Preparation Equipment

From the KNI Lab at Caltech
Revision as of 18:04, 29 June 2023 by Awolff (talk | contribs) (→‎List of Equipment Available)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
TEM Sample Prep Tools
Instrument Type Support Tools,
Sample Prep for Microscopy
Techniques Cross-Section Sample Prep,
Sample Polishing,
3 mm Core Drilling,
Dimpling, Argon Milling
Staff Manager Guy A. DeRose, PhD
Staff Email derose@caltech.edu
Staff Phone 626-395-3423
Reserve time on FBS
Request training via FBS User Dashboard
Lab Location B242A Keck
Lab Phone 626-395-8908
Manufacturer Assorted (see list on page)
Model Assorted (see list on page)


The KNI offers a lab in the Keck sub-basement for preparing TEM samples by traditional means, often to produce cross-section specimens from a bulk sample. This typically involves the following steps:

  1. Glue together a stack of materials, e.g. with the surface of two samples facing each other
    (if the surface is what you want to observe in the TEM)
  2. Cut the stack into thin slices of material, in the appropriate orientation
    (the thin dimension here will be the same thin dimension in the TEM)
  3. Cut out a 3 mm circle from this thin slice using a Disk Cutter
  4. Polish that thin disk down to a thickness of ~100 μm
  5. Use a Dimpler to polish a hemispherical dimple into the middle of the disk,
    such that only a few microns of material remain at the thinnest portion
  6. Use an Argon Mill to perform the final polish of the thinnest portion,
    until a hole has been bored through the middle and
    the edges of that hole are thin enough to be electron-transparent in the TEM

List of Equipment Available

The Dimpler (left) and 3 mm Disk Cutter (right)
The polishing station with automated handling of the polishing jig and control of its sweeping motion
  • This area is currently under refurbishment and not available. Please contact Annalena Wolff for more information
  • Low-Angle Argon Milling & Polishing Station: Fischione Model 1010 (shown in infobox image)
  • Dimpler: Fischione Model 2000
  • Ultrasonic Disk Cutter: Model 170
  • Polishing Station: Allied TechPrep
  • Polishing Station: Buehler Ecomet 3
  • Low Speed Saw: Isomet
  • Roll Grinder: Buehler Handimet 2
  • Various polishing media & accessories:
    • Media: grit paper, lapping films, polishing cloths, diamond suspensions, alumina poweders
    • Accessories: tripod polisher (South Bay Technology), endpoint polisher (Fischione Model 160)


  • Paper copies of SOPs are available in the lab for the Argon Ion Mill & Dimpler
Manufacturer Manuals

Related Instrumentation in the KNI

Transmission Electron Microscopes
Sample Preparation for TEM
Sample Preparation for Microscopy