Tom Levesque, Technology Business Consulting and Jezz Leckenby, Talking Science

The cleanliness of specimen surfaces and the high vacuum electron microscope environments in which these surfaces are studied or processed have never been more critical than they are today with examination and fabrication nearing the atomic level. Routine manufacturing at the scale required for nanotechnology demands pristine and controlled surfaces in order to create the desired structures. Modern electron and ion microscopes are equipped with sophisticated vacuum systems and can provide these conditions, but maintaining cleanliness over time may be more difficult. One of the ways that scientists have been able to achieve these remarkably unadulterated surfaces has been to subject their samples and microscopes to cleaning by various plasma technologies.

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