Alcorix Co. and ExpressLO LLC obtained The Microscopy Today 2021 Innovation Award
Each year Microscopy Today presents 10 awards to organizations or individuals who have launched or published innovations in microscopy or microanalysis. Winning products and methods are selected based on their usefulness to the microscopy community that provides better, faster, easier, or entirely new methods of analysis using a microscope or microanalytical instrument. Alcorix Co. and ExpressLO LLC obtained The Microscopy Today 2021 Innovation Award for developing specialized TEM Grids made of polycrystalline diamond, with a patented geometry for easy mounting of nanoparticles and samples on the grids by using nano manipulators. Alcorix contributed with developing an original microfabrication process for keeping these grids with special 3D configuration at low cost.
EXpressLO-Z™ grids consist of conducting nanocrystalline diamond (NCD), which eliminates most overlaps between X-rays emanating from the specimen and from conventional grids. Since these grids are made of NCD, they exhibit low inherent X-ray background with a majority carbon K characteristic peak. The 3-mm-diameter NCD grids are designed for use in either FIB ex situ lift-out (EXLO) or in situ lift-out (INLO) specimen preparation. Slots in the grid accept specimens of different lengths, and a half-grid style allows for additional FIB milling (if needed). These grids contain no metals (typical of conventional grids made of Cu, Mo, Ni, Ta, Au) that produce fluorescence X-rays with spectral lines that may overlap with spectral lines from elements within the analyzed specimen. The CVD deposition yields a smooth grid surface ideal for attaching EXLO or INLO specimens. The NCD grid material can be subjected to high temperatures for in situ heating experiments. The FIB/TEM community has been searching for a low-Z grid material for several years to avoid X-ray peak overlaps. To date, the difficulty has been developing a cost-effective way of manufacturing such grids. Beryllium grids are available but are rarely used because Be is toxic and dangerous to handle. EXpressLO-Z™ grids are carbon-based, stable at high temperatures, and cost-effective.