Sample Preparation

Sample Preparation Capacity – September 2022 Update

As of today, we have three ion mills capable of preparing samples for SEM imaging in the JH Analytical lab: two precision dual gun Leica EM TIC 3X ion mills and a brand new COXEM CP8000+ single gun high-speed mill.

This increase in capacity allows us to serve customers faster and more effectively than before! See the latest video explaining the capabilities of COXEM’s newest ion mill CP8000+.

Sample Preparation Process

The basic process of mechanical specimen preparation is material removal using abrasive particles in successively finer steps removing material from the surface until you reach the required result. There are several steps to the process:

  1. Cutting the sample down to a manageable size (Sectioning)
  2. Mounting the sample in epoxy to maintain sample integrity, and ease of handling during subsequent processes
  3. Grinding, polishing, and lapping to reveal the material structure

Analysis of PCBs

A typical example is a cross-section or micro-section analysis of a printed circuit board (PCB). These destructive analyses measure the quality of the manufactured circuit board at the interconnection level.

The defect analysis process helps verify board manufacturing quality or what went wrong during the board manufacturing process, such as lamination, soldering, and plating issues.

These steps are an integral part of the PCB manufacturing process.

You can use similar processes for checking the quality of raw materials, welds, 3D printed or additive manufactured products, medical devices, batteries, and more.

JH Technologies & Buehler

We have partnered with Buehler, a leading manufacturer of sample preparation equipment. For best results, we maintain the most modern equipment available and are proud that all our tools are less than four years old.

Sample Preparation for SEM

Sample preparation for SEM is the key to generating excellent, high-quality images. Prep can be time-consuming, but if done right, the results can be absolutely spectacular. We have invested in top-of-line equipment to help with this critical process.

Leica TXP

The Leica TXP is a target preparation device capable of micro-section, micro-grinding, and micro-polishing for unmounted samples. Precision controls allow 1um incremental adjustment for material removal.

The TXP reduces processing time on the ion mill, increasing productivity and resulting in a faster turnaround for the customer.

Leica TIC3X

The Leica TIC3X is the latest ion milling system capable of removing nanometer layers of material. It also provides the ultimate in-surface preparation at room temperature or cryo.

The unique triple ion beam system optimizes the preparation quality and reduces working time, making it up to three times faster than other systems.

JH Technologies

In many instances, materials can be processed using a vibratory polisher as the last step in SEM sample prep.

We use a Buehler Vibromet 2 to accomplish this process and in some cases can achieve results close to ion milling. This is, of course, sample dependent and we will always recommend the best and most cost-effective method needed to achieve desired results.

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