Recently in Instrument setup Category

Cathodoluminescence detector installation

Now that the SEM is finally setup and working properly, all the additional bits and pieces can be installed. First to go is the Gatan ChromaCL cathodoluminescence system. It is a neat little detector that is attached through the large WDS port on the back right corner of the chamber. The detector is a machined parabolic mirror that is inserted between the objective lens and the sample. It is about 10mm thick, has 1mm clearance between the top of the detector and the bottom of the objective lens and 1mm focal length to the sample surface. This means that everything is very tight in the chamber when it is in use. The BSE detector needs to be removed from the objective lens prior to inserting the CL detector. The light collected by the mirror is sent to a diffraction grating where it is separated into the visible spectrum and a PMT detects red, green and blue signals which are sent to the display. The system is capable of live, real color imaging of a cathodoluminescent sample. The installation went smoothly, but a minor defect was found in the digital images collected by the system. The first line of pixels is not in the correct position and is clearly shifted relative to the rest of the image. Our service engineer hadn't seen this problem before and his changes to the system didn't fix it so he was going to forward test images to the applications engineers to see what solution they could come up with.

In the meantime, here's an image of a zoned mineral grain taken with the new system.

SEM setup

Well, after the inventory of parts was completed, our service engineer got the replacement scope up and running and imaging Wednesday afternoon. The original date to remove the damaged unit was friday, but the movers had a conflict with that date and moved it up a day. This initially caused some concern on our part because we want to be sure everything we need off the damaged scope before it leaves. But Alex is confident he has everything we will need so I'm OK letting it go today.

SEM Delivery... again

Well, the instrument finally arrived @ 2:00PM Tuesday May 6 and in much better condition than the first. The movers were much more professional than the first crew and the scope was properly stowed in the back of the delivery truck. It was uncrated, but wrapped in bubble wrap and cardboard. The unit was on blocking and unstrapped in the back of the truck but supported by padding from side to side across the truck.

The movers rolled the unit on a pallet jack onto the lift gate of the truck and they were much more careful about how they rolled the unit over the end gate of the truck. It was only a bit scary to see the thing rolling onto the gate to within about 6" of the edge. When they went to lower the gate with the unit it went down much more quickly than they anticipated which gave all of us a bit of a scare, but all came out OK. The movement from the truck, through the planetarium entrance and to LifeSci 93 went very smoothly.

Getting the unit onto the floor from the pallet jack was a bit interesting. They blocked the unit at the center and balanced it on 4 2x4 pieces of lumber. The pallet jack was removed and a single 2x4 was placed on the right side of the unit. The unit was then tipped onto the right side and a J-bar was used to lift the unit off the center blocks and they were removed. The whole unit was then lowered to the floor with the J-bar very smoothly. The cardboard and bubble wrap were removed and everything looked good, a bit dusty but good.

Adventures in SEM delivery (Round 2)

Well, today is the second big day here at the UMD SEM lab. Our damaged JSM-6490LV is being replaced by a (hopefully) undamaged unit. Hopes are high and we expect to have images by the end of the week. The plan is for the service engineer begin the process of packing the damaged instrument and clear it out of the room. Then he will go to a warehouse here in Duluth where the instrument should be waiting and check it over. If all looks good, it will be moved over here and the new will be swapped for the damaged.

That's the plan so far.... I'll just wait and see what happens.

Adventures in SEM delivery

Delivery of the JEOL JSM-6490LV scanning electron microscope has not gone as planned. First, there was a significant delay prior to my arrival on campus. Then the big day had arrived, April 21, and after meeting our service engineers (Alex and Jerry), walking the path the scope was to take, unpacking the water chiller unit we were waiting for the shippers to arrive with the scope. While on the way to get a cup of coffee before the heavy lifting began, Jerry got a phone call from JEOL (Jim?) to let him know that the column crate had been mistakenly sent to another lab in Colorado.

Things went to hell in a hand basket after this.

So, the column unit was reshipped to Duluth via air freight and arrived April 23 AM. Somewhere along the way the original shipping crate was removed and the column was placed on another pallet and the left side was scraped by a forklift. Alex went to inspect the damage and found cosmetic damage to the panel but nothing significant and the shippers loaded the unit and shipped it to the UMD campus Med School loading dock.

When the column arrived, Alex, John, and myself were there to observe/assist with the moving. We knew there was going to be trouble as soon as the back door of the truck was opened. The column was covered with furniture pads and strapped to the side of the truck. One strap was over the bottom portion of the console, and the other strap was over the upper portion of the column.... BAD!! Fortunately (?) the upper strap didn't appear to have much tension on it, but still an inexcusable situation. Then the movers loaded the unit onto a pallet jack and proceeded to manhandle the unit off the truck and onto the dock. The transition from the bed of the truck to the dock ramp was less than smooth and the column nearly slid off the pallet jack. It was clear the movers had never handled this kind of equipment (SEM). They worked much too quickly and with little regard for the delicacy and expense of the equipment. After moving up to the second floor of the Med School, across to the MWAH then down to the ground floor of MWAH the column finally arrived on the ground in front of LifeSci 93. While the movers went back to the truck to unload the factory crate containing the rotary pumps etc. Alex, John and I inspected the damage. At this point we noticed there were no feet attached to the front of the microscope column while the two at the rear were present. Closer inspection found that the steel frame the feet should have been attached to was seriously bent towards the back of the column, as if someone had hit the front feet with a forklift.

So, the you-know-what hit the fan. Several calls to JEOL and a subsequent meeting on the 24th resulted in the decision to replace our column with another new unit that had been used as a demonstrator for JEOL in the LA area.

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