TESCAN CRYO FIB-SEM AS A FLEXIBLE TOOL FOR ADVANCED SAMPLE ANALYSIS
The stabilization of beam-sensitive or hydrated samples using plunge-freezing cryo-fixation is a technique that has widely extended in many fields of research as it allows bringing such specimens into a vitrified state. This makes it possible to study beam-sensitive samples or hydrated specimens as closest to their natural state as possible by means of Scanning Electron Microscopy. In this way, cryo-fixed samples can be imaged at high-resolution in high vacuum, which allows morphological characterization at nanoscale.
The cryo-fixed samples can also be modified as they are suitable to prepare cross-sections or thin TEM specimens with FIB-SEM that expose and give researchers access to the internal microstructure or ultrastructure of the samples. Cryo-FIB-SEM is an effective technique for sample preparation under cryo conditions that takes advantage of all the benefits of FIB-SEM sample preparation including site-specific highly-localized sample preparation without cutting artefacts. Such features also make cryo-FIB-SEM a suitable technique for damage-free, high-resolution 3D sample reconstruction.
The Cryo-FIB-SEM technique is widely used not only in Life Sciences to study soft biological specimens but also in Materials Science since it enables the study of beam-sensitive polymers, foams, emulsions and it makes it possible the study of liquid-ion interactions in Li-ion batteries and analyses of other beam-sensitive materials used in solar cells.
TESCAN microscopes can be fitted with a variety of equipment and accessories for cryo sample processing. Thus cryo-SEM or cryo-FIB-SEM analytical platforms can be configured and customized with the state-of-the-art cryo-technology of choice that best suit researcher’s requirements. TESCAN cryo-FIB-SEMs serve as effective tools for preparing high-quality thin TEM specimens at site-specific locations, which make them suitable solutions for sample preparation that can be integrated into any Cryo-TEM analytical workflow.
In addition, it is also possible to integrate microanalytical techniques such as Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDX) into the TESCAN cryo-FIB-SEM platforms, which enables researchers to obtain chemical, molecular and elemental characterization of samples under cryogenic conditions.
The aim of this presentation is to demonstrate the flexibility of TESCAN FIB-SEM systems in diverse challenging cryo-applications such as fabrication of thin cryo-TEM specimens, cross-sectioning and chemical mapping of beam-sensitive samples.