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Vacuum Compatible Fluid Sampler

Patent Number: 10,639,634


A fluid sampler includes: a sample cell that includes: a substrate comprising: a first port; a second port in fluid communication with the first port; a viewing reservoir in fluid communication with the first port and the second port and that receives the fluid from the first port and communicates the fluid to the second port, the viewing reservoir including: a first view membrane; a second view membrane; and a pillar interposed between the first view membrane and second view membrane, the pillar separating the first view membrane from the second view membrane at a substantially constant separation distance such that a volume of the viewing reservoir is substantially constant and invariable with respect to a temperature and invariable with respect to a pressure to which the sample cell is subjected.

Patent Description

This invention is a complete system comprising a novel chip and chip holder that enables routine, high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy of samples in liquids and high-pressure gases in the transmission electron microscope (TEM). The system overcomes limitations in liquid-layer thickness control that affect other liquid cells. It enables rapid switching of liquid chemistries. As a gas cell, it enables the use of high pressures for operating spectroscopy measurements and the use of chemistries not normally allowed in the TEM.  The chip fabrication process is modular and flexible, allowing for rapid changes in design and customization for particular experiments. It is adaptable to optical microscopy and x-ray microscopy.

Drawings describing the technology within patent 10,639,634


  • Integrated platform developed for in situ TEM liquid measurements
  • Robust and flexible process flow
    • Geometries readily optimized for a given measurement
    • Novel chromium oxide sacrificial layer developed
      • Inert, high-temperature compatible, extreme etch selectivity
    • Simple micro- to nanofluidic interface process
      • Sputter lift-off creates tapered profiles without greyscale lithography, etching
  • On-chip electrokinetic flow control developed
    • Rapid switching of liquid flows
  • High-speed flow possible
Created July 16, 2020, Updated December 20, 2023