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Leica EM ACE600

The EM ACE600 sputter coater is a versatile high vacuum film deposition instrument for your FE-SEM and TEM applications.

Leica EM ACE600 can be used in the following scenarios:

  • Enhance contrast with a fine-grained metal layer,
  • Produce nanometer-thin but robust carbon films,
  • Rotary shadow your sample to make the smallest features visible, or to
  • Move into cryo-coating

The ACE600 coater will offer the optimal solution

What is in an ACE600 coater?

The ACE600 offers the coating methods sputtering, carbon thread, carbon rod, and e-beam evaporation

Up to two methods can be used at the same time on the same instrument

The instrument can perform glow discharge. This gives the flexibility to choose the best methods for individual applications.

This is realized with angled sources attached to a metal vacuum chamber and a rotating stage to allow evenly distributed films on a stage size over 100mm

Because of this setup, it can upgrade a normal coater into a coater with a cryo-stage to perform freeze fracture application and connect to the Leica EM VCT500.

Precisely measured and stable parameters are the key to reproducible performance.

The fully automated coating process ensures, that the conditions are the same for each run. Besides that, the operation of the instrument is straightforward.


A special solution of valves ensures an accurate and stable Argon pressure during sputter coating together with a quartz crystal thickness measurement in the middle of the stage, giving full control over the result.

The pre-vacuum level, the main contributor to the granularity for a coated layer, can be set to a low 10-6mbar (even less is possible) value for high-resolution imaging or to the 10-4mbar range, to process a sample quick.

Ultra-thin carbon films

Carbon coating has multiple applications for electron microscopy. It is conductive but invisible to the electron beam and has no grain structure.

It can be only a thin film on a section for a TEM analysis or adding some conductivity for SEM imaging

Many samples require carbon films on the TEM grid to be processed.

The film has to be as thin as possible, robust, and stable.

With the adaptive pulsed carbon thread method, it produced thin films which can even be baked out for the reduction of contamination.

Make the smallest features visible

To see nm-scaled structures, such as proteins or DNA strands, a special coating is required.

By coating with a low angle, it created a visible shadow. To achieve this, the coating has to be directional, fine-grained, and at a precise one-digit angle.

The e-beam source together with a motorized 3-axis movable stage provides all those features.

Protection for your samples

The often fragile, precious EM samples, which were prepared in many steps and hours beforehand, need protection from the analyzing electron beam.

A heavy metal coating will protect it from beam damage. The goal is, as thin as possible to not cover interesting features but give sufficient protection, enhancement of the signal, and conductivity.

The sample needs to be protected from heat, resulting from the coating process itself. They optimized all coating methods provided by the ACE600 to transfer no heat to the sample.

The adaptive pulsed carbon thread method heats the carbon thread only for an instant of time, the sputtering process works with a magnetic field, so less power is needed to release target atoms, and e-beam evaporation works with a shutter and aperture system to shield the sample from the glowing filament.

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