Usually, the particles are deposited onto an appropriate substrate in the deposition chamber. However, upon removing the readily prepared particle sample from the deposition system, it will be exposed to ambient air. In order to prevent the particles from oxidation, they can be alternatively deposited drectly onto a TEM tranfer holder. For this, a vaccum transfer module was developed that allows us to insert any TEM holderin such a way with into the nanoparticle deposition system that only the TEM grid (typically coated with an amorphous carbon film) will be exposed to the free particle beam. After the deposition, the transfer holder can be sealed (with or without a protecting gas atmosphere) and transferred to the electron microscope without any exposure to ambient air. Besides a doudl-tilt commercial transfer holder (Gatan), a homemade single-tilt transfer holder can be used whose stability provides an isotropic resolution of better than 0.1 nm.
(a) Home-made single-tilt (vacuum) transfer holder with the TEM grid (b) sealed and (c) exposed to ambient air. (d) Home-made transfer module that can be optionally inserted in our nonaparticle deposition system. The arrow indicates where tha nanoparticle beam hits the TEM grid carried by the holder. [B. Bieniek, Diploma thesis, TU Dresden (2010)]