Multiplexed TEM imaging for nanomaterial characterization on a single EM grid

T. Jain, B. Carragher, C.S. Potter
The Scripps Research Institute, US

Keywords: transmission electron microscopy, TEM, inkjet dispensing, nanoparticle imaging

Summary:

With rapid progress in inorganic, organic and hybrid nanomaterial synthesis and / or purification in solution, a bottleneck often arises to simultaneously characterize large numbers of materials at high-resolution. Amongst others, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) as a direct space imaging technique offers the highest-resolution information for nanomaterial characterization in the nano to atomic scale. However, specimen preparation for TEM imaging is very low throughput (single specimens are prepared on individual EM grids, with repetitive load and unload steps, vacuum pump downs and contamination into the microscope) thereby limiting its use to rapidly screen through large sets (10’s to 100’s) of materials in a single microscopy session. Here we report preliminary results of using small volume inkjet dispensing to load multiple nanomaterials on single EM grids. Confinement of specimens in microscale regions suggest that inkjet dispensing of picoliter volumes of samples can allow for 100’s of different nanomaterial conditions to be loaded on a single EM grid. Further development along these lines will greatly impact using TEM as a high-throughput nanomaterial characterization tool.