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General Prep

Sample preparation​

This lab houses an array of saws, mounting & polishing equipment and supplies needed to prepare most inorganic samples and many polymer samples for analysis in a range of MCL microscopes and other characterization equipment. Common steps include ​

  • Mounting samples can be done in various sizes with a choice of various epoxies and resins – either cold mounting or hot mounting available
  • Sectioning samples - The lab can accommodate slicing samples of various sizes and materials with multiple wafering/slicing saws and a large cut saw. We also have a precision cutter capable of <1mm slicing and automated serial sectioning.​
  • Dicing samples into specific sizes​
  • Grinding – rough surface preparation – SiC grits from 120 down to 1200
  • Mechanically polishing samples to make the surface flat prior to optical or electron microscopy and/or microindentation – this can be done by hand, semi-automated or fully automated​
  • Polishing samples with a broad beam ion mill to achieve a fine surface finish for EBSD and nanoindentation​

Getting started​

Much of the equipment is housed in N-031N of the MSC. Penn State users can request training or consultation at Materials Characterization Lab. Training videos and other helpful information is available on the Sample Prep Canvas page. You will be added to the course once you request training. ​