- High energy operation for rapid milling; low energy operation for specimen polishing
- Two independently adjustable TrueFocus ion sources
- Ion source maintains its small beam diameter over a wide range of operating energies (100 eV to 10 keV)
- Continuously adjustable milling angle range of -15 to +10°
- Adjustable 10-inch touch screen with a user-friendly interface for simple setup of milling parameters
- Specimen holder with x-y adjustment
- In situ viewing and image capture during milling
- Liquid nitrogen-cooled specimen stage
Advanced specimen preparation
For many of today’s advanced materials, analysis by TEM is the best technique for studying material structure and properties. Fischione Instruments’ Model 1051 TEM Mill is an excellent tool for creating the thin, electron transparent specimens needed for TEM imaging and analysis.
Ion milling with low angles of incidence, combined with low-energy ion source operation, minimizes irradiation damage and specimen heating. Because it facilitates the uniform thinning of dissimilar materials, low-angle milling is highly beneficial when preparing layered or composite materials, as well as cross-sectional TEM (XTEM) specimens.
Contamination-free specimen mounting
The TEM Mill’s specimen holder design allows for easy specimen loading. The specimen holder accommodates double-sided milling to 0° without specimen shadowing. Because the specimen is clamped in place on the holder, there is no possibility of specimen contamination from an adhesive. The loading station provides a platform for the specimen so that it can be easily positioned in the specimen holder.
Adjustable x-y specimen holder and x-y loading station (optional)
An additional specimen holder and loading station are available for customers who desire x-y adjustment capability. If an area of interest is off the axis of rotation, you can adjust the specimen x-y position to optimize milling.
Quick specimen transfer
The TEM Mill features a vacuum load lock for rapid specimen exchange. The load lock is ergonomically designed; simply lift the load lock cover to load the specimen holder onto the stage.
Replace the cover and evacuation of the load lock occurs within a few seconds. The vacuum secures the load lock cover in place during ion milling. An electronically controlled elevator then moves the specimen into the milling position.
At the conclusion of the milling process, the specimen holder returns to the load lock, but remains under vacuum until vented by the user. Venting takes only a few seconds. After venting, you can rapidly transfer the specimen to a TEM specimen holder, thus reducing the potential for contamination from the ambient environment.
Vacuum transfer capsule (optional)
An optional vacuum capsule allows you to transfer the specimen to the TEM under vacuum or in an inert gas.
The TEM Mill’s vacuum chamber remains under continuous vacuum during operation. A load lock isolates the high chamber vacuum from ambient during specimen exchange, ensuring optimal vacuum conditions.
Precise angle adjustment
The ion sources are tilted to provide the desired milling angle. The continuously adjustable ion source tilt angles range from -15 to +10°. This extended tilt angle range accommodates specimens mounted on slotted grids. The ion source angles are adjusted using the left and right ion source controls.
You may choose to use one or both of the TrueFocus ion sources. If you are using both ion sources, you can adjust the beam angles independently. You may also choose to ion mill either one or both specimen surfaces.
When both ion beams are directed to one of the specimen’s surfaces, milling rates are doubled; this capability is useful for applications such as back-side thinning or planar polishing of specimens. If you set the ion sources to mill both specimen surfaces simultaneously, you avoid redeposition of sputtered material.
Automated milling angle adjustment (optional)
Automated milling angle adjustment using the touch screen is an available option for the TEM Mill. Adding this capability enables you to create multi-step milling sequences that include the automatic adjustment of milling angles throughout the milling process.
Programmable specimen motion
Specimen rotation is in-plane and continuous throughout 360°.
The TEM Mill is ideally suited to preparing XTEM specimens from heterogeneous or layered materials. Specimen motion control in relation to the ion beam minimizes preferential milling, which can occur when a glue bond line exists in XTEM specimens or when lower atomic number (Z) materials are contained in layered composite specimens.
When milling the bottom surface of the specimen, ion beam sequencing electrically interrupts the flow of ions to the specimen as the specimen holder is rotated through an angle that coincides with the ion beam. This avoids sputtering of the specimen holder. The specimen can also be rocked in relation to the ion beam so that interfaces or glue lines are never parallel to the direction of the ion beam. Rocking angles ranging from ±40 to ±60˚ are typically employed.
Integrated stage cooling (optional)
Although milling at low angles with low ion beam energies reduces specimen heating, temperature-sensitive specimens may require further cooling. Liquid nitrogen cooling of the specimen stage is very effective in eliminating heat-induced artifacts. The TEM Mill can achieve temperatures better than -170 °C.
The TEM Mill’s liquid nitrogen system features a dewar located within the enclosure that is fully integrated and interlocked. The dewar is positioned near the operator for easy access. Two dewar options are available: a standard dewar for applications that require 3 to 5 hours of cooling during ion milling, or an extended dewar for applications that require 18+ hours of operation under cryogenic conditions. Temperature is continuously displayed on the touch screen.
The SEM Mill offers the ability to program and maintain a specific temperature between ambient and cryogenic. At the conclusion of milling at cryogenic temperatures, the stage temperature is automatically increased to ambient before venting to avoid specimen frost and contamination.
A thermal safeguard can be programmed to a specific stage temperature threshold at which the ion sources will be deactivated if the liquid nitrogen in the dewar becomes depleted.
The ion milling process can be automatically terminated by elapsed time, by temperature, or by an optional laser photodetection system.
A timer allows milling to continue for a predetermined time and then turns off the energy to the ion sources when the time has elapsed. The specimen remains under vacuum until the load lock is vented.
The thermal safeguard associated with the specimen cooling system will stop the process if the specimen stage reaches a preset temperature.
A laser light source and a photodetector sense transmission of light through the specimen. A programmable sensitivity control automatically stops the ion milling process as the specimen becomes translucent.
In situ specimen viewing
The ion milling process can be monitored in situ in the milling position when using either the optional stereo or the high-magnification microscope.
The viewing window is protected by a shutter, which prevents buildup of sputtered material that could interfere with specimen observation.
Stereo microscope (optional)
A stereo microscope (7 to 45 X) enhances specimen viewing. The microscope’s long working distance allows the specimen to be observed in situ while milling.
High magnification microscope (optional)
The TEM Mill can be configured with a 1,960 X high-magnification microscope coupled to a CCD camera and video monitor to view specimens and capture images in situ during milling. This system is ideal for preparing site-specific specimens.
A light positioned beneath the specimen provides user adjustable, transmitted specimen illumination.
Both the high-magnification and stereo microscopes have light sources that provide top-down, user adjustable, reflected sample illumination.
Touch screen control
Milling parameters are entered via a 10-inch touch screen, which can be adjusted to your preferred height and viewing angle. From the touch screen, you can control a broad variety of instrument parameters, such as ion beam energy, milling angle, specimen motion, specimen position, and process termination.
For automated, unattended operation, you can program a series of milling sequences. A typical approach is to begin with rapid milling to remove larger amounts of specimen material; then, as the specimen thins, a lower milling rate to polish the specimen. These milling sequences can be easily stored and recalled for future use.
During milling operations, milling sequence progress and instrument status are displayed in real time on the touch screen.
Advanced functionality includes tools for managing specimen data, maintenance and log files, and image storage, as well as remote access, which allows you to oversee milling operations via a remote computer if the TEM Mill is networked with your facility’s intranet.
Access to instrument configuration, administrative and diagnostic tools, and maintenance and log files, is controlled through privileges granted to the various user levels and require login credentials.
Stack light system status indicator (optional)
An optional stack light allows you to view the system status from across the room.
Automatic gas control
Two mass flow controllers provide independent and automatic regulation of process gas for the ion sources. The gas control algorithm produces stable ion beams over a wide variety of ion source milling parameters.
Fully integrated dry vacuum system
The integrated vacuum system includes a turbomolecular drag pump backed by a multi-stage diaphragm pump. This oil-free system assures a clean environment for specimen processing.
Because the gas requirements of the TrueFocus ion source are small, the 70 lps turbomolecular drag pump produces an operating system vacuum of approximately 5 x 10-4 mbar. The vacuum level is measured with a cold cathode, full-range gauge and is continuously displayed on the touch screen.
Due to the efficiency of ionization, maintenance of the TrueFocus ion source is minimal and the components have an extremely long life. Material sputtered from the ion source is negligible, minimizing both specimen contamination and component maintenance. Automated shuttering prevents the buildup of sputtered material on the viewing window. All system components are easily accessible for routine cleaning.
Fischione Instruments is committed to support maximum instrument uptime. To that end, the TEM Mill has remote diagnostics capabilities built in. When connected to the Internet, the TEM Mill can be accessed remotely by Fischione Global Service for rapid troubleshooting and diagnostics support.
Service and preventive maintenance
To learn more about Fischione Global Service's comprehensive service and preventive maintenance programs, contact Fischione Global Service.