The issue of specimen contamination becomes more important at a rate proportional to the use of high-brightness electron source Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM). These TEMs combine smaller electron probes with increased current, allowing high resolution specimen imaging and enhanced analytical data collection. Small, high current electron probes tend to increase the detrimental effect of hydrocarbon presence on the specimen's surface. The subsequent formation of carbon deposits caused by the focused probe often times obstructs imaging and precludes acceptable analytical results. by plasma cleaning the specimen, contamination is removed and the results obtained by high resolution electron microscopy (HREM), scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and analytical electron microscopy (AEM) using EDS or electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) are greatly enhanced. Recent instrumentation developments have resulted in the application of a high frequency, low energy, reactive gas plasma generated in an oil-free vacuum that chemically removes hydrocarbon contamination from both the TEM specimen holder and the specimen without altering its properties.