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Cryo lift-out

Oxford Instruments OmniProbe cryo lift-out option extends lift-out capability to cryogenic samples, including those prepared by high-pressure freezing.

Cryo-FIB lift-out can be performed on samples that are cooled as low as -180ºC by third party cryo systems. This enables nanoanalysis over a wide range of new sample types, and across many industries, by cryo-TEM or cryo-atom probe instruments.


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Oxford Instruments OmniProbe cryo lift-out option extends lift-out capability to cryogenic samples, including those prepared by high-pressure freezing.

Cryo-FIB lift-out can be performed on samples that are cooled as low as -180ºC by third party cryo systems. This enables nanoanalysis over a wide range of new sample types, and across many industries, by cryo-TEM or cryo-atom probe instruments.

The cryo lift-out option consists of a custom probe shaft assembly with thermally isolated probe tip that is passively cooled via direct connection to the cryo system’s cold finger. A non-exclusive license is included to practice Oxford Instruments’ proprietary ice attachment method.

The cryo lift-out option is available for the OmniProbe 200 system and is field retrofittable.

Most batteries use organic electrolytes currently, and the interfaces between electrodes and electrolyte are critical to many aspects of battery performance.  Many processes that occur at these interfaces are not well understood, due to a lack of ability to directly study them at high resolution. By pairing cryo lift-out with cryo-TEM/STEM, for the first time very high resolution imaging can be achieved at these liquid-solid interfaces.  

Although liquid cell holders can be employed for TEM imaging, they are limited by the sample size and the type of liquid that can be used. More viscous liquids such as organic electrolytes cause the thin windows of the liquid cells to bulge out, leading to reduced resolution through scattering effects and beam broadening.

With cryo lift-out, one achieves very high resolution images of batteries by freezing them, extracting a cross-section from the liquid-solid interface by cryo-FIB lift-out, and FIB thinning to <100nm thickness for high resolution study of the interface.

  • Expand research opportunities
    • Achieve high quality data on samples formerly difficult or impossible to analyze at high resolution
      • Materials that normally react with Ga+ or are heat-sensitive
      • Aqueous samples and those with liquid-solid interfaces
      • Batteries, bio-implants, hydrogels
      • Any sample too large for plunge-freezing
  • Obtain superior images and results
    • Improve data quality by reducing artifacts induced by Ga+ FIB
      • Avoid chemical reactions (ex: III-V materials)
      • Avoid temperature effects (ex: polymers)
  • Improve tomographic data reconstruction and accuracy
    • Achieve better ultrastructure preservation by avoiding cryoultramicrotome-induced sample compression
    • Achieve high quality results from TEM and atom probe analysis of large cells and tissues

Our comparison table below will help you choose the best OmniProbe for your application and to compare specifications.

SPECIFICATION                                                    OMNIPROBE
Cryo OmniProbe 350 OmniProbe 400
Linearity 500 nm 500 nm 250 nm
Encoder resolution 100 nm <50 nm 10 nm
Insertion repeatability 5 μm 5 μm 2 μm
Min velocity 100 nm/s 50 nm/s 10 nm/s
Max Velocity 250 μm/s 250 μm/s 500 μm/s
Compucentric rotation
APPLICATION
Site specific lift-out
Plan-view P P
Vent free plan-view
Backside Thinning P
Atom Probe tomography sample preparation P P
Cryogenic liftout
Voltage contrast imaging ✔*
Charge neutralisation
On-Tip analysis
EBIC measurements O O
EBAC measurements O O
In Situ tip change O

P: Requires an OmniPivot holder O: Available as Option * Not possible while cryo connection attached

Application Notes

A Universal Method of In Situ FIB Lift-Out for Cryogenic Samples

 In situ FIB lift-out is a common method for preparing site specific transmission samples at room temperature, but is not suitable for cryogenic samples. Here we present a variation of the FIB lift-out method for the preparation of cryogenic samples, which overcomes the limits of the current methods.

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