Using the Fusion TEM Heating System for TEM and SEM

Transforming Standard TEM or SEM

Fusion heating and electrical systems convert a standard SEM or TEM into an in-situ laboratory. The new Fusion TEM Heating System from Protochips manipulates heating, electrical, and electrothermal processes within the electron microscope, enabling customers to view samples at atomic resolution imaging under real world conditions. Fusion also utilizes advanced holder and E-chip technology which ensure the highest accuracy and precision when obtaining data.

The Fusion TEM Heating System is controlled by the powerful Clarity™ software suite, which allows safe manipulation of electrical and/or thermal stimuli. The system is simple and easy to use, yet powerful and versatile enough to support a variety of functions.

Heating Performance

Fusion utilizes a new low-power E-chip technology with holders designed to dissipate heat, resulting in minimal displacement and drift at high temperatures. Fusion’s ceramic heating technology combines the sample support and the heater into a single thin film, ensuring temperature uniformity that surpasses 99.5%.

Electrical Performance

Electrical experiments in the SEM or TEM require a very low current in order to describe nanoscale samples. Fusion combat this challenge and offer single digit picoamp measurements with sensitivity measuring in the attoamps. With more than 30 different low-parasitic electrical E-chip variations available, Fusion offer a sample support for a variety of applications.

Simultaneous Heating and Electrical Biasing

Fusion Electrothermal E-chips have a silicon carbide heater with tungsten electrodes. This enables customers to conduct picoamp level electrical biasing and swift temperature changes up to 1200 °C. The complete features of the Fusion heating and electrical modes are integrated with a single software interface that is simple to use.

Clarity Software Control

The Clarity workflow software ensures full automated control of each step of an experiment. It allows the user to easily prepare the system for use and manipulate thermal and/or electrical stimuli whilst simultaneously monitoring safety and logging experimental data. The optional ImageSync software can also be used to synchronize images with the electrical and heating data.

Feature Highlights

  • Automatic Resolution Imaging under realistic conditions with temperatures up to 1200 °C
  • Interchangeable E-chips provide electrical, heating, and electrothermal capabilities using a single holder
  • Optimized to maximize EDS performance, even at zero alpha tilt
  • Clarity software offers automated and easy to use electrothermal manipulation and safety features

Fusion TEM -Heating and Electrical Holder - Case Study

Electric-field assisted sintering of ZrO2

Sintering involves forming a solid mass of material without having to melt the material. It often leaves pores and voids, which leads to the material’s strength being compromised. Sintering by only temperature occurs at high temperatures (~80% of the melting point), and can take several hours.

In addition to temperature, electrical current is frequently used to reduce the required temperature and decrease the length of the sintering process. However, the role of this current is still largely unknown at the nanoscale.

Until recently no solution was commercially available that could heat and apply current to a sample within the electron microscope. Researchers in the van Benthem group at University of California Davis explored sintering mechanisms in yttria-stabilized ZrO2 (3YSZ), using STEM and TEM images to monitor the microstructural evolution of the agglomerates in densification.

The structure remained unaffected for 106 minutes when they used Protochips’ Fusion to apply 900 °C to the sample. They then increased the temperature to 1200 °C, which caused the pores to shrink.

To see the effect of electrical current, the researchers applied a temperature of 900 °C and a field of 500 V/cm. After only four minutes, pore shrinkage and coalescence was observed, validating the field-assisted sintering.

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