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Micro-Imaging and Micro-manipulation laboratory

The Microimaging and Micromanipulation Laboratory is available both for ESRF staff and outside users. It is situated in rooms 018-021 in the Science building. The laboratory is designed for the preparation of small and thin samples for experiments carried out at the ESRF and for sample characterization before and after experiments.

Laboratory equipment:

  • Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope with EDX analysis system

A Zeiss LEO 1530 is a high-resolution Scanning Electron Microscope with a Schottky field emission gun. It is equipped with a secondary electron, in-lens, and backscattered detectors for imaging. Its acceleration voltage range from 200V to 30kV. Resolution in the order of 1 nm can be achieved at 20 keV voltage and a working distance of 2 mm. At lower voltages, such as 1kV, the resolution is about 2.5 nm at a working distance of 1mm.

An analysis system from Oxford Instruments is available for element analysis. The INCA microanalysis software used here is coupled with a 20 mm2 large area Silicon Drift Detector (SDD), which also allows fast elemental mapping. Light elements starting from beryllium can be detected.

  • Leica EM ACE200 coating system

The samples are metal coated using the spattering method where an argon plasma erodes an Au target material. Carbon coating is achieved by carbon thread evaporation. Any material can be processed as long as it is not sensitive to vacuum, argon plasma, or heat generated by carbon coating.

  • Precision Etching Coating System PECS (Gatan 682)

The PECS can sputter coat material onto a surface and/or etch the surface. Argon ions are used for both coating and etching processes. The unit has three individual ion sources: one for etching and two for coating (ion energy 1-10KeV). The etching area varied from 7mm to 10mm dependent on gun energy. The etching rate is 10μm/hr for silicon and 3μm/hr for tungsten at 10.0 keV. The coating rate is 0.5Å/sec for carbon and 1.5Å/sec for chromium at 10.0 keV. Target materials are Au/Pt, C, Cr, Pt

  • Optical Microscope  LEITZ DMRX

The optical microscope is suited for all metallographic examinations, quality control of machined surfaces, and all applications in biology and medicine. It is an upright microscope with reflected and transmitted illumination. The sample stage is motorized. The microscope is equipped wide range of objectives with a magnification range from 25 to 1000. Bright-field and polarization contrast techniques are available. The unit is equipped with a digital camera Leica DMC 2900 (c-mount) with a 3.1-megapixel resolution. The images are captured with the Leica LAS 4.6 software and stored on a PC.

  • Leica Stereo Microscope M205C

The Leica M205 C has two optical paths, but with the addition of FusionOpticsTM technology, the optical paths vary in size, such that the right beam path offers a high-resolution image while the left produces an exceptional depth of field. Both transmitted and reflected light illumination are available. Magnification range from 7.8 to 160. The microscope has been optimized for a working distance of 60 mm, thus leaving sufficient space between the lens and the specimen surface. For reflected illumination, it has an LED5000 RL ring light. The Leica IC80 HD camera can transfer images on an HD monitor and save them to an SD card.

  • Leica EM Target Surfacing System

Developed for milling, sawing, drilling, grinding, and polishing samples before examination by SEM, TEM, and LM techniques. An integrated stereomicroscope allows pinpointing and easy preparation of barely visible targets. With the specimen pivot arm, the sample can be observed directly at an angle between 0° and 60°, or 90° to the front face for distance determination with an eyepiece graticule. A variety of tool inserts allows the specimen to be milled, sawed, drilled, ground, and polished without sample removal from the instrument.  

  • Accutom 100 Diamond Saw (Struers)

Accutom-100 is an automatic cut-off machine for cutting and grinding the majority of solid and stable (non-explosive) materials. It has a Y-movement of the cut-off wheel, a motorized X-arm, and a built-in recirculation cooling unit. The cut-off wheel and X-arm can only be moved either when the guard is closed or holding the hold-to-run button when using the positioning keys. The unit is equipped with rotation and oscillation functions of the specimen holder. A wide range of clamping tools and specimen holders for all shapes and sizes are available. A large variety of diamond, Al2O3, and SiC cut-off wheels covers all possible applications.

  • Tegra Pol 11 Polishing Machine (Struers)

A user-friendly and reliable motor-driven machine for wet grinding and diamond and alumina polishing of metallographic, ceramic, and mineralogical specimens. It consists of a circular turntable, on which can be mounted grinding, lapping, and polishing discs (200mm). The turntable is supported by precision ball bearings and driven by an electric motor via a belt drive, which ensures uniform and silent running. On the control panel, it has an adjusting knob for the preselection of speed, an on/off, and a speed indicator. A wide range of SiC abrasive papers, polishing cloths, and diamond sprays are available for users.

  • Microtome JUNG 2055 AUTOCUT

The microtome for automated sectioning of either plastic or paraffin-embedded materials is accessible in the laboratory. The section thickness range is from 0.5 to 60 mm. The speed of the cutting motor is continuously variable. Two modes of automatic operation are available: step mode and continuous operation. A separate control panel centralizes all sectioning functions. Motorized coarse advance to rapidly cover larger distances at two different speeds (200 and 1200 mm/s). The maximum sample size is 40*55 mm using a standard specimen clamp.

  • NIKON Inverted Optical Microscope with a Micromanipulator

An inverted microscope is ideal for biological sample investigations and any technique requiring micromanipulation. The microscope is equipped with a 3-D Manual coarse manipulator MN 188 for quick movement of pipette or capillary to the sample and 3-D Hydraulic MO 188 manipulator with a handing-type joystick, which controls ultra-fine manipulation. This micromanipulation system is mounted directly to the stage of the inverted optical NIKON microscope, this ensures minimum vibration, occupies little space and maximum working distance is available. A microinjector to inject solutions into or extract fluids out of the specimen is also available. The microscope is equipped with a color video camera. Images can be transferred to the computer using a frame grabber.

  • Leica stereomicroscope MZ 16

A stereo microscope with a 1:16 zoom magnification changer enables the total magnification to be continuously altered from 6.5x to 40x. Incident and transmitted light illuminations are possible. The microscope is equipped with two mechanical micromanipulators. This manipulator is a 3-axis coarse manipulator with an extra fine control on the X-axis. On all axis, movement is 25 mm and for the fine X-axis movement is 8 mm with 5-micron graduation. The Leica IC80 HD camera can be operated using an HD monitor, images can be saved to the SD card.

  • Small items

Apertures (pinholes), grids, frames for mounting samples, fine tweezers, small tools, and glues are available for users.