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‘Cool ESEM’ - Imaging Ice-Containing Systems at Freezer Temperatures

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2020

A.L. Fletcher
Affiliation:
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 OHE, UK
T.H. Keller
Affiliation:
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 OHE, UK
B.L. Thiel
Affiliation:
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 OHE, UK
A.E. Eddy
Affiliation:
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 OHE, UK
A.M. Donald
Affiliation:
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 OHE, UK

Extract

Conventional scanning electron microscopy permits the use of cryogenic techniques, which has led to the examination of ice-containing samples (eg ice cream) at temperatures of -80°C and below. At these temperatures moderate etching of the ice crystals occurs which helps to identify the crystals in the surrounding glassy matrix. However, imaging at higher temperatures - equivalent to those at which most ice-containing systems are actually utilised - is impossible because of rapid sublimation. We have set out to develop a system which will enable us to examine ice crystals at temperatures of -20°C and below, corresponding much more closely to realistic conditions of use.

In the environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM), a gas can be maintained around the sample. Not only can this be used to maintain the sample in its native state, but the gas is actively involved in the imaging process through its role in signal amplification.

Type
New Trends in Scanning Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis
Copyright
Copyright © Microscopy Society of America

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References

1.Fletcher, A.L., Thiel, B. L. and Donald, A. M.J Phys D, 30 (1997) 2249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
2.Fletcher, A.L., PhD thesis Cambridge University (1997).Google Scholar
3. The financial assistance of the BBSRC and Unilever pic are gratefully acknowledged.Google Scholar

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