Such experiments can be carried out using an in situ nanoindenter placed inside the vacuum chamber of an SEM.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (Ernst Ruska, 1986 Nobel Prize) has seen massive growth in both materials and life science over the last few years. On the one hand ease-of-use and slick integration with ancillary techniques has made it the go-to microscope for new material research, whilst new aberration corrected TEM and Cryo-microscopy techniques (Dubochet, Frank, and Henderson, 2017 Nobel Prize) have revolutionised protein characterisation. Virus-research today would probably take ten times as long without this impressive technology.

Allectra supplies most of the leading SEM companies with electrical feedthroughs and other components, where reliability and robustness are key. We are also often involved with the end-users. Retrofitting an SEM with new technology (material testers, nanomanipulators, heaters etc.) can represent a great way of extending the research life of these significant investments.

Recently the ELTE research group at the Department of Materials Physics, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary installed a new in situ nanoindenter, using a specially designed Allectra High Vacuum feedthrough plate. The plate was fitted with 5 Sub-D 15 pin feedthroughs, 2 double-sided BNC feedthroughs and a Triaxial feedthrough. By welding the feedthroughs to a single Viton-sealed plate, superior vacuum integrity is assured.

The lead researcher Dr. István Groma said “The research group’s goal is to improve the existing in situ nanomechanical testing methods. Due to the complication of the high time resolution and the low signal to noise ratio it is of utmost importance to use an appropriate data acquisition method. The upgrade of the SEM system attached with the in situ device went ahead smoothly and the technical support provided by Allectra and their Hungarian partners Metlok meant that we were always confident about the signal handling.”

The SEM is an FEI (now Thermo) Quanta 3D FEG, with dual beam SEM and FIB.

Allectra is happy to discuss your feedthrough needs for retrofitting your SEM or FIB, whether Thermo, Tescan, Zeiss, Jeol, Hitachi, or another manufacturer we can offer tailored plates for your project.

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