Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has traditionally served as an important tool for understanding the physical properties of many materials. Recent improvements in “ex-situ” techniques have further strengthened the role of TEM as a unique characterization method.
The use of ExxonMobilfs dedicated reactor system for studying metal oxidation at moderate temperatures has been reported. However, high temperature oxidation studies have been limited by the use of holey carbon support films, which oxidize and disintegrate during these experiments. Consequently, a new method was developed to replace the holey carbon support film with a holey metal oxide support film that both maintains its structural integrity during high temperature oxidation and remains electron transparent.
The new support film was prepared using a commercially available, holey carbon coated TEM grid as a template (Figure 1). An Al metal film (∼10nm thick) was deposited onto the holey carbon coated side of the TEM grid using a magnetron sputtering system.