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The latest generation of broad ion beam milling systems with improved milling speed. The IM4000Plus Ion Milling System utilizes a broad, low-energy Ar+ ion beam milling method to produce wider, undistorted cross-section milling or flat milling, without applying mechanical stress to the sample.
The IM4000Plus Series Ion-Milling Systems are the second-generation of IM4000 series hybrid instruments that support Cross-Section Milling and Flatmilling®. A wide variety of system configurations are available: Standard, Cooling, Air Protection, and Cooling & Air Protection.
The cryogenic versions of the IM4000 and IM4000Plus provide active cooling of the cross section milling stage during sample processing. A liquid nitrogen dewar is connected to the cross section stage to effectively remove ion beam milling induced heat from the shielding mask and sample.
The Cryo Temperature Controller (CTC) allows the user to set a desired cooling temperature during the milling process. This is achieved by placing a heater and temperature sensor directly at the cross section shielding mask so that any desired process temperature can be accurately maintained.
At the end of the milling process, the cooled specimen stage is gently warmed up to room temperature in order to avoid ice formation or water condensation on the sample surface.
Sample cooling can support damage-free cross section milling of highly temperature sensitive specimen such as polymers or soft metals. However, even with active cooling applied, it is important to choose proper processing parameters, especially for samples with low thermal conductivity, because the heat generated at the direct impact point of the ion beam must first be effectively conducted to the cooled parts embedded in the specimen. The IM4000 with CTC provides high ion beam currents even at lower "gentle" accelerating voltages, and is therefore optimally suited for this type of work.
For occasional temperature-sensitive applications, an optionally available pre-cooled heat sink block can be easily attached to the cross section milling stage of the standard IM4000 unit. By pre-chilling this cooling block in a freezer prior to starting milling, samples can be effectively cooled during the typical short processing times in IM4000.
Advanced materials - especially those related to Lithium battery research - require strict protection from the atmosphere during transfer from cross sectional preparation to analysis through SEM.
IM4000 air protect is a retrofittable solution for IM4000 instruments that allows samples prepared and encapsulated under protective atmospheric conditions to be loaded in a glove box and then into the IM4000 and to be exported under vacuum conditions after cross section milling.
A manipulator mechanism attached to the viewing window on top of the specimen chamber allows sealed sample capsules to be opened after IM4000 evacuation, and to be re-encapsulated prior to chamber venting.
Standard capsules can be directly transferred into the air protect specimen exchange chambers, which are optionally available for all Hitachi FE-SEM Original encapsulation of samples to be ion milled is supported by a fully mechanical fit type holder-and-shielding mask mechanism, which eliminates the fine mechanical setting and adjustment tasks that are usually hard to accomplish wearing thick rubber gloves inside a glove box.
The application picture below shows the importance of such air protected sample preparation work. In this example, a negative electrode of a Li ion battery is first observed under air protected transfer to the SEM, and then observed a second time after 10 minutes of exposure to the room atmosphere.
SEM image of ion milled sample transferred
under strict air protection
SEM image after just 10 minutes of air
exposure between ion beam milling and
Specimen: Lead-free Solder
Specimen: Neodymium Magnet
Specimen: Lanthanum-doped Ceria
Specimen Courtesy : Prof. Katsunori Hanamura, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Specimen: Nano Pillar
SEM: SU8200 Series
Specimen Courtesy : Prof. Masahiko Yoshino, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Specimen: Thermal Paper
SEM: SU8200 Series
Specimen: Painted Film
SEM: SU8200 Series
Specimen: PAN(Polyacrylonitrile) Carbon Fiber
Specimen: Chrome-molybdenum Steel
Specimen: Meteoric Iron,(Cross-section milling)
Specimen: Cu gasket
Specimen: Hot Worked Neodymium Magnet,(Flat milling)
Specimen: Lithium ion battery negative electrode, (Cross-section milling)
This journal addresses a wide range variety of research papers and useful application data using Hitachi science instruments. Those authors are notable researchers and Hitachi application engineers. This is an article of Ion Milling System IM4000Plus