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Specimen coating for high resolution scanning electron microscopy

, : Specimen coating for high resolution scanning electron microscopy. Scanning 4(4): 169-174

Thin conducting films, produced by evaporation or soft vacuum sputtering generally show cracks and grain formation, when examined under high resolution scanning electron microscopy. These artifacts can obscure surface features of coated specimens or cause confusion in the interpretation of micrographs. No such structures were observed in films produced by ion beam deposition. Ion beam deposition equipment is described in which a cold cathode saddle field ion source, operating at low pressure (15 mPa [Pascal]), produces a 2 mm diameter beam of energetic ions (5 keV) and neutrals. With the beam directed onto a target at to glancing incidence, the sputtered material coats the specimens, which are held in a planetary system for good coverage. Conditions favoring fine grain growth are a high nucleation density and low energy transfer to the substrate by thermal conduction or radiation or by particle or photon radiation. These conditions are satisfied by ion beam deposition but evidently not by evaporation or soft vacuum sputtering. With the specimen [Chrysochromulina chiton, 2-oleodistearine, and cotton fibers] stationary, sharp shadowing is obtained because the target acts almost as a point source, because of the small diameter of the beam and because there is little scatter at the operating pressure.

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Accession: 006459260

DOI: 10.1002/sca.4950040402

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