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Radio-frequency (RF) Transmission Systems, Devices, and Methods for In Situ Transmission Electron Microscopy

Patent Number: 11,069,507


A sample carrier for in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has a dielectric substrate with a conductive layer that forms a coplanar waveguide. The coplanar waveguide has a first and second leads formed by the conductive layer. The first lead is between an adjacent pair of second leads and is spaced from the second leads by a respective gap. The coplanar waveguide is configured to transmit an electrical signal to a specimen held by the sample carrier, in particular, an electrical signal having a frequency in the radio-frequency (RF) regime (3 kHz-300 GHz), for example, up to 100 GHz. The sample carrier may be mounted to a TEM sample holder, which supports the sample carrier within a vacuum chamber of the microscope and provides electrical connection between the leads of the sample carrier and an RF source external to the vacuum chamber.

patent description

In electron microscopy, no commercial system exists to accomplish transmission of high-fidelity, low-loss broadband microwave frequency signals from an external source to a spatially confined transmission electron microscope (TEM) sample. The NIST inventors have solved this problem by inventing an in vacuo sample biaser comprising a TEM holder with multiple vacuum compatible microwave transmission feed-throughs, a variable on-chip microwave transmission line sample carrier, and standard interconnects that provide low-loss transmission between the microwave generator, the TEM holder, and the sample carrier. As no other techniques exist to achieve in situ operation over broadband frequencies, this invention will promote new opportunities in fundamental research and new understanding of current electronic devices that have microwave fundamental operational frequencies.


  • Provides researchers across industry and academia a viable means to characterize the operational performance of processes, devices, and high-frequency actuators that operate at microwave frequencies.
  • Will expand the parameter space of ultrafast electron microscopy by allowing for electromagnetically driven phenomena to be investigated.
  • Allows the characterization of material properties of devices at operational frequencies, alleviating a common problem for US manufacturers.
Created August 9, 2022, Updated December 15, 2023