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Preparation of Vitrified TEM Samples for the Direct Observation of Sol and Gel Structures

  • Joseph K. Bailey (a1), Jayesh R. Bellare (a1) and Martha L. Mecartney (a1)

Abstract

Direct observation of structure in liquid phase materials is made possible by a cryo-vitrification technique in which a thin liquid sample is frozen at a high cooling rate to prevent crystallization. We have applied this technique to observe the evolution of structure in ceramic sols and gels using TEM. The sample preparation technique is described in detail and results obtained from colloidal and polymeric sols and gels are presented to show the usefulness of the technique. Artifacts arising from radiation damage and beam heating are also discussed.

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