Polishing and Coating of SEM Samples using a PECS II Argon Beam System

Gatan’s precision etching coating system (PECS™) IIis a table top broad beam argon milling tool designed to handle the coating and polishing of samples. These two procedures can be done on the same sample without disruption of the vacuum.

The PECS II system is a fully self-contained, bench-top tool that polishes surfaces and eliminates damage using two wide argon beams. This technique is suitable for generating superior quality samples for scanning electron microscope (SEM), optical, or scanning probe microscopy (SPM). These specimens are ideal for imaging, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), cathodoluminescence (CL), electron-beam induced current (EBIC), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and other analytical methods.

The PECS II system makes use of patented WhisperLok® technology with a temperature-controlled liquid nitrogen cooling stage (optional). This feature helps to check sample melting or structural alterations occurring due to heat that are associated with traditional milling procedures.

The PECS II system integrates a 10-inch touch screen to enhance control and reproducibility of the polishing procedure for both beginner and expert users. The digital zoom microscope monitors the polishing procedure in real-time and saves color images in the DigitalMicrograph® software for review and investigation while the sample is in the SEM.

Key Features

  • WhisperLok system enables loading and unloading of samples without venting the main chamber
  • Mill damage sensitive surfaces, including CL or EBSD, using low energy focusing penning ion guns
  • Variable energy from 0.1 – 8.0 keV: Tunable low energy milling to decrease amorphous layer and higher energy to increase milling speed
  • Liquid nitrogen specimen cooling removes artifacts such as migration of gallium and oxidation
  • 10-inch color touchscreen control for rapid, easy access to all control parameters without the need for a computer
  • Digital zoom microscope for instantaneous operation during milling
  • Color image storage in digital micrograph software helps in storing and applying optical images for association with other analysis systems
  • Sputter deposition is possible where a target material is sputtered onto the sample surface to lessen or protect charging in a SEM


  • Ceramics
  • Semiconductor
  • Natural resources
  • Metals (oxide, alloy)

Download the Brochure for More Information


Ion source  
Ion guns Two penning ion guns with rare earth magnets
Milling angle ±10°, each gun independently adjustable
Ion beam energy (keV) 0.1 – 8.0
Ion current density peak (mA/cm2) 10
Milling rate on silicon (µm/h) 90
Beam diameter Adjustable using gas flow controller or discharge voltage
Specimen stage  
Sample size (D x H, mm) 32 x 15
Rotation (rpm) 1 – 6
Beam modulation Single, double with adjustable range
Viewing Digital zoom microscope with PC and DigitalMicrograph storage (optional)
Dry pumping system Two stage diaphragm pump backing a 80 L/s turbo drag pump
Pressure (torr)

5 x 10-6
8 x 10-5
Vacuum gauge Cold cathode type for main chamber
Solid state for backing pump
Specimen airlock WhisperLok technology
Specimen exchange time (min) <1
User interface  
10-inch color touch screen Simple operation with complete control of all parameters and recipe operation
Dimensions and utilities  
Overall size (L x W x H, mm) 575 x 495 x 615
Shipping weight (kg) 45
Power consumption (W)
During operation
Guns off

Power requirements with universal 100 – 240 VAC (Hz) 50 – 60
Argon gas (psi) 25

Specifications are subject to change.

Other Equipment by this Supplier

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.