The effectiveness of applying a high-frequency, low-energy, reactive gas plasma for the removal of hydrocarbon contamination from specimens and components for electron microscopy has been investigated with a variety of analytical techniques. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis of specimens that have been plasma cleaned shows an elimination of the carbonaceous contamination from the specimen. With extended cleaning times the removal of existing carbon contamination debris due to previously conducted
microanalysis is shown. Following plasma cleaning, specimens may be examined in the electron microscope for several hours without exhibiting evidence of recontamination. The effectiveness of plasma cleaning is not limited to applications for TEM specimens. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) specimens that have been plasma cleaned likewise show an elimination of carbonaceous contamination. Furthermore, other electron microscopy parts and accessories, such as aperture strips, specimen clamping rings, and Wehnelts, among
others, can benefit from plasma cleaning.