Carbon Contamination Effects on EELS Measurements & its Reduction
- Practical Electron Microscopy and Database -
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This book (Practical Electron Microscopy and Database) is a reference for TEM and SEM students, operators, engineers, technicians, managers, and researchers.


Under electron irradiation in TEM, the specimens often rapidly accumulate carbon-related contamination influencing the EELS measurements. Using high vacuum and short acquisition time can minimize this problem.

There are other ways to reduce carbon contaminations. For instance, TEM specimens of Be borides were prepared by crushing the materials in methanol in a boron carbide mortar and pestle that allowed a drop of the specimen in suspension to dry on a lacey C coated Cu TEM grid [1]. To reduce C contamination in the TEM, the grid supporting the finely crushed material was placed on a 100 W light bulb for ~10 min just prior to insertion in the TEM. A thermocouple placed on the bulb showed a reading of ~170 °C. Failure to place the specimen on the bulb invariably resulted in the buildup of carbonaceous material during the EELS acquisition, which was a problem since the C K edge from the contamination would interfere with the C K edge from the materials under investigation.



[1] Laurence A. J. Garvie, Peter R. Buseck, and Peter Rez, Characterization of Beryllium–Boron-Bearing Materials by Parallel Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy (PEELS), Journal of Solid State Chemistry 133, 347 - 355 (1997).



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