August 31, 2009: Carl Zeiss is debuting new pieces to a “correlative microscopy” strategy of materials analysis linking light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
The company’s “Shuttle & Find” system enables samples to be examined under both a light microscope and also SEM environment. Samples are examined in a light microscope with various contrasting methods (brightfield, darkfield, or polarized light or interference); further samples deemed of interest are then examined using a SEM. The Zeiss interface connects upright and inverted microscopes (type SteREO Discovery, Axio Imager and Axio Observer) with a motorized stage, to a range of Zeiss SEMs (EVO, SIGMA, SUPRA, ULTRA and MERLIN) and its CrossBeam (FIB-SEM) workstations (AURIGA, NVision und NEON). Samples are transferred between the two “in a matter of minutes” and the SEM automatically relocates areas of interest “in a matter of seconds.” Also, images of the light microscopy and SEM can be overlaid and correlated to x-ray maps.
“With the interface presented today, we are taking a step which enables two largely separate worlds to come together,” said Thomas Albrecht, head of product management at Carl Zeiss SMT’s Nano Technology Systems division, in a statement.
First applications of the Shuttle & Find system “are being developed jointly with early customers,” eyeing use in materials science and industrial procedures — though Zeiss says that biological applications are not well-suited to the new setup.
Mounting of the sample holder with the adapter into the vacuum chamber of a scanning electron microscope. (Source: Carl Zeiss SMT)