Specimen Preparation

The Swagelok Center for Surface Analysis of Materials at Case Western Reserve University provides equipment and expertise on a variety of techniques for preparing samples for optical microscopy, SEM/EDS/EBSD, surface analysis, or nanoindentation.

Gatan Ilion Ion Polisher 

The Gatan Ilion ion polisher allows the preparation of high-quality planar cross sections from difficult samples that do not lend themselves to mechanical polishing or focused ion beam milling. The instrument can perform masked broad ion beam milling, also known as “slope cutting.”

This surface preparation technique utilizes a large (1 mm) ion beam to strip away an extensive, finely polished area for subsequent microscopy and microanalysis. A solid, sputter-resistant shield blocks half of the ion beam, effectively masking the lower half of the beam and creating a lateral sputtering plane that strips away a thin layer of the sample surface. The resulting surface is very flat and usually free of artifacts.


Sputter Coater

Picture of a Sputter Coater Device

The Denton Vacuum Desk IV Cold Sputter/Etch Unit is designed to quickly deposit a conductive coating on SEM samples with consistent deposition parameters. The system also provides some limited surface cleaning. The 6” metal chamber sits atop an aluminum baseplate and is equipped with a Turbo Pump and an automatic vent valve is slaved to the mechanical pump resulting in fast cycle times. The sputter cathode is clamped to an insulated aluminum plate in the chamber cover. We use a high-purity Pd target for sputtering. Other targets are available but need to be purchased by the user. A manual gas control is provided to control pressure from the Ar gas cylinder. A touch screen is used to control the system and monitor process parameters.



Tegramin is designed for perfect and reproducible preparation results when making materialographic inspection. The compact design with integrated specimen mover head together with an automated process control and user-friendly operation makes the Tegramin grinding/polishing machine unique and unmatched. All features on Tegramin have been developed in close cooperation with experienced metallographers for maximum preparation quality and fast results.