Sample preparation requirements:
Samples suitable for electron microscopy need to:
- be able to withstand vacuum
- be stable under the electron beam
- either be conductive or have a conductive coating
Samples suitable for quantitative microanalysis need to :
- be perfectly flat and highly polished (final grit size < 1 µm), commonly referred to as mirror polish.
The size and shape of the sample are constrained by the type of sample holders that are available. We have a variety of sample holders that can accommodate the following samples:
- Six to nine 1’’ (25.4 mm) diameter cylindrical mounts or plugs. Minimum thickness is 2 mm; maximum thickness is 2 cm.
- Four 1.25 ‘’ (31.75 mm) diameter of cylindrical samples
- Four to six 1’’ x 1.8’’ (25.4 mm x 45 mm) thin sections. Maximum thickness of the slide: 0.05’’ or 1.2 mm.
- Custom-sized samples can also be accommodated. Check specifics of your sample size and shape with the Lab Manager.
Further Literature on EPMA sample preparation
- Echlin, P., 2011. Handbook of sample preparation for scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis. Springer Science & Business Media.
- Geller, J.D. and Engle, P.D., 2002. Sample Preparation for Electron Probe Microanalysis—Pushing the Limits. Journal of research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 107(6), p.627
- Jana, D., 2006, April. Sample preparation techniques in petrographic examinations of construction materials: A state-of-the-art review. In Proceedings of the twenty-eighth Conference on Cement Microscopy (p. 48).
- Hall, M. and Hayward, C., 2014. Preparation of micro-and crypto-tephras for quantitative microbeam analysis. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 398(1), pp.21-28.
- McCall, J. ed., 2012. Metallographic specimen preparation: optical and electron microscopy. Springer Science & Business Media.
- Rémond, G., Nockolds, C., Phillips, M. and Roques-Carmes, C., 2002. Implications of polishing techniques in quantitative X-ray microanalysis. Journal of research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 107(6), p.639.
- Richter, S. Mayer, J., 2012. Sample preparation for EPMA. EMAS2012, 10th Regional Workshop on Electron Probe Microanalysis Today.
- Taggart, J.E., 1977. Polishing technique for geologic samples. American Mineralogist, 62(7-8), pp.824-827.
- Teague, T., 1989. An improved technique for polishing difficult geological materials using a colloidal silica suspension. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 59(4), p.635.
Further web content on sample preparation:
- Comparison of the performance of various commercially available epoxies for grain mounting: https://www.ed.ac.uk/geosciences/facilities/ionprobe/technical/epoxyresins
- A step-by-step guide to mount small grains from the Getty conservation program: https://uclagettyprogram.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/mounting-small-samples/
- A guide to ultrasonic cleaning: https://www.kemet.co.uk/blog/cleaning/ultrasonic-cleaning-the-complete-guide
- How to remove cured epoxy: https://ravescientific.com/education/36-removing-cured-epoxy
- Best practices for cleaning SEM stubs: https://ravescientific.com/education/35-best-practices-for-cleaning-sem-stubs-and-mounts
- A guide to choosing coating materials for SEM/EPMA samples: https://ravescientific.com/education/37-proper-target-material-selection-when-coating-samples-using-an-sem-sputter-coater
Tech notes from various vendors: