Design of a micromanipulation system for high temperature operation in an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM)
journal contributionposted on 2010-11-05, 11:58 authored by P. Samara-Ratna, Helen V. Atkinson, T. S. Stevenson, S. V. Hainsworth, J. Sykes
The Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) allows the sample to be imaged under a low pressure atmosphere. The ability to micromanipulate with precision within heated power systems in an ESEM will enable a greater understanding of the behaviour of materials at high temperature. Heating stages for ESEM’s are commercially available but none include micromanipulation systems. Creating such a system is fraught with design problems. This is because the piezoelectric transducers, required to generate the precise range of movement within the heated environment, are unable to operate at temperatures exceeding about 90°C and require thermal protection. Here we have used a one dimensional probe as a model of a three dimensional manipulator. We have introduced a thermal break and a thermally insulating extension arm to protect the piezoelectric from heat. We have applied finite element analysis to test the design concepts before practical implementation. This ensures that the piezoelectric transducers in the costly practical devices are not placed at risk. The predictions have been validated with subsequent experimental work although there are some discrepancies to resolve. An example of the movement of aluminium alloy grains and copper powder particles using the one-dimensional manipulator are given.