Enabling Atomic Resolution at Temperatures up to 100 °C with the Atmosphere TEM Environmental Gas Cell

The Atmosphere TEM Environmental gas cell transforms almost all TEM into a completely featured ETEM (Environmental TEM). The system develops an in situ reaction chamber within the microscope, which facilitates atomic resolution at pressures up to one atmosphere or 760 Torr and temperatures up to 1000 °C.

The Atmosphere TEM Environmental Gas Cell is a fully automated system controlled by the powerful Clarity™ software suite which makes pressure and temperature control easy and safe. The software offers both flowing and static modes so it can manipulate dynamic environments with altering pressures and temperatures in either static or flowing gas conditions.

The system is easy to use, yet powerful and flexible enough to support applications ranging from in situ nanomaterial synthesis and growth to heterogeneous catalysis reactions. The Atmosphere TEM Environmental Gas Cell is also safe to use in a customer’s TEM.

It is the only gas cell system tested and approved by JEOL and FEI for use on their entire line of transmission electron microscopes. With both computer-controlled gas handling and closed-loop temperature control, it provides reliable results.

The Atmosphere TEM Environmental Gas Cell Advantage

Atomic resolution at high temperatures and pressures - Atmosphere provides the ability to heat samples up to 1000 °C while at pressures up to 1 atm. The outstanding stability and consistency of Protochips’ silicon carbide heating surface and ultra-thin gas layer enables atomic resolution by reducing both thermal drift and scatter.

EDS elemental analysis in gas - The design of the Atmosphere Holder enables, for the first time, accurate in situ EDS elemental analysis in the TEM even at elevated pressures. A patented, highly efficient holder design offers a large line-of-sight solid angle from the sample to the EDS detector, reducing tilt and increasing count rate.

Complete control of your experiment - The Clarity workflow software for Atmosphere offers full control of each step of a user’s experiment from start to finish. The software allows the users to easily prepare the system for use, select gases, and fix the sample pressure and temperature simultaneously monitoring safety and logging experimental data automatically.

The Atmosphere Key Features

  • Image under realistic conditions with pressures up to 1 atm and temperatures up to 1000 °C
  • Closed-loop temperature control for accurate temperatures even in altering gas and pressure composition
  • Clarity software offers automated gas handling and safety features
  • OEM-approved for compatibility and safety

Atmosphere TEM - Environmental Gas Cell - Case Study

Novel Catalyst Structure Dynamics Captured at the Atomic Scale

Nanoparticles are a key focus for catalysis. Their high surface-to volume-ratio sustains high catalyst activity with less material. However, nanoparticles sinter at low temperatures, which reduces surface activity and area.

Significant effort has been aimed at increasing the temperature stability of nanoparticles. One technique encapsulates palladium nanoparticles with ceria on silicon functionalized alumina. This material has displayed superior catalyst activity, but it was not understood why.

In situ electron microscopy using Protochips’ Atmosphere directly revealed that when the material was calcined at temperatures between 500 and 800 °C, it experienced an appealing transition. Large agglomerates were formed, together with tiny species of ceria and palladium.

The researchers postulated that the tiny species are accountable for the high catalytic activity, and are stabilized by silicon.

Without in situ observation, the dynamic structural evolution is unlikely envisioned by any ex situ method, and more importantly, this finding may open new perspectives about the origin of the activity of this catalyst.

Shuyi Zhang, Lead Author on the Study

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