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Durham University

GJ Russell Electron Microscopy Facility

Sample Preparation

High quality sample preparation is a key part of any electron microscopy investigation, especially for extracting quantitative information. There are numerous challenges associated with sample preparation, such as thinning down to (TEM) electron transparency a particular region of interest or obtaining a flat surface from a specimen containing a mixture of hard and soft phases. A number of advanced sample preparation methods are available, such as the lift-out technique in a dual-beam focussed ion-beam microscope, where the material can first be characterised in an SEM before selectively thinning the area of interest for higher resolution TEM analysis, and broad ion-beam milling, which uses a low energy ion-beam at shallow angles to polish large areas of the sample for SEM.