All specimens need to be supported if they are to be examined and analyzed in the SEM. The support serves a number of ­different functions:
  1. 1.

    It provides stability, so the sample remains in place inside the microscope.

  2. 2.

    It provides a secure environment for the sample during the various stages of specimen preparation.

  3. 3.

    It provides a suitable shape and form, so the sample may be moved through the different phases of specimen preparation.

  4. 4.

    It provides the best orientation of the sample during examination and analysis inside the microscope.

  5. 5.

    It enables the sample to be moved out of the microscope and into a secure storage device.


It is important to make a decision about the nature of the specimen support early on during sample preparation. For example, cell cultures may be grown conveniently on secondary glass supports that are then stabilized, dried, and processed for charge elimination before being placed in the microscope. They may be attached directly on to a primary...


Primary Support Secondary Support Support Film Metal Stub Specimen Stub 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cambridge Analytical MicroscopyUK

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