Send me a Coolstage quote

Coolstage - Peltier-Cooled SEM Stage

The Coolstage is a Peltier-driven cooling stage for scanning electron microscopy (SEM), low vacuum (LV) or variable pressure (VP) applications. Three models are available to cover differing user requirements.
Key features
  • Temperature range -30°C to +50°C at 300 Pa
  • Self contained cooling - no additional external cooling water needed
  • Temperature accuracy +/- 1.5°C or 2% - whichever is greater
  • Minimal image drift
  • Cooling and heating rates of up to 30°C per minute
  • Keypad control - with simultaneous display of actual and target temperature
  • Supplied with SEM chamber port feed-though - specify when ordering

The Coolstage is a Peltier-driven SEM cooling stage for scanning electron microscopy (SEM), low vacuum (LV) or variable pressure (VP) applications. The stage can be cooled to sub-zero temperatures for specimens that may be sensitive at ambient temperature, subject to beam damage, or may otherwise ‘sublime’ (lose water) at ambient temperatures. 


Three products

There are three versions of Coolstage: Standard, Enhanced and Ultra, designed to cover differing specimen requirements. 

The Standard Coolstage consists of a single stage Peltier device, onto which a thermally isolated specimen holder and dual temperature sensor is mounted. The Coolstage assembly is mounted onto the SEM stage using an adaptor plate specific to the microscope. Cooling pipes and electrical wires connect to the SEM feedthrough flange. External components are a recirculating water chiller power supply case and a compact keypad for digital temperature readout and control.

Alternative products in the Quorum range:

  • For lower temperatures than Peltier cooling can give? The PP3005 SEMCool offers close-to liquid nitrogen temperatures (down to -190°C)
  • For liquid nitrogen temperature cooling with a specimen load-lock? Please see: PP3006 CoolLok
  • For a full low temperature cryo preparation system for SEM and FIB/SEM (including rapid freezing, vacuum transfer, cold fracturing, sublimation and sputtering) please see: PP3010T.

Compact, efficient cooling and temperature control

The temperature range of the Standard Coolstage is -30°C to +50°C at 300 Pa. The specimen holder is water-cooled using a small, self-contained closed loop recirculating chiller that is normally positioned approx 2m from the SEM. A microprocessor controls and monitors the temperature of the cold stage. A small keypad is used to set the required temperature and display target and current temperatures.

The specimen holder has been designed to minimise image drift due to temperature change, giving a stable image at high magnification. An integrated RS-232 interface allows temperature to be set and read from the SEM.


Rapid specimen exchange

To exchange a specimen it is necessary to increase the specimen stage temperature to ensure that condensation does not form on the specimen or specimen stage. The keypad controller has a convenient ‘exchange’ button that will automatically take the specimen holder temperature to a programmable temperature from between +5ºC to +20ºC. Typical cooling and heating rates are up to 30ºC per minute.

When not in use, the major parts of the system can be left in situ and the cooling stage is very easily removed when reverting to ‘normal’ use. A convenient storage block is provided for Coolstage stage assembly and vacuum feedthrough for when the system is not in use.

Coolstages - three models:

12063. Standard Coolstage (-30ºC to +50ºC at 300 Pa).

12064. Enhanced Coolstage (-30ºC to +160ºC at 300 Pa).

12065. Ultra Coolstage (-50ºC to +50ºC at 300 Pa).


Options - additional specimen stubs

12066. Flat specimen stubs, 10 mm diameter (pack of 10).

12067. Dish-style specimen stubs, 10 mm external diameter (pack of 10).

Why cool?

Low vacuum (LV) or variable pressure (VP) modes are now standard on most scanning electron microscopes (SEMs). For this reason it has become important to control water evaporation from wet specimens. Cooling such specimens reduces the loss of water by evaporation, or - depending on chamber pressure - can prevent it altogether. 

Saturated vapour pressure of water decreases considerably with temperature. At room temperature, water will very quickly evaporate - causing considerable damage to specimen composition and ultra-structure. This is due to high forces of surface tension at the drying front as it passing though the specimen. In most biological systems this will result in distortion and collapse of membranes and other structures.

At 300 Pa, the specimen temperature needs to be less than -9.5°C, and at 85 Pa less than -25°C to stop water evaporation. Therefore, by cooling a specimen to -25°C, chamber pressures up to 85 Pa can be used with little or no water loss by evaporation. 

In this way changes in specimen structure can be minimised. In addition, being able to operate at higher vacuum gives a better signal-to-noise ratio and clearer images.


Specifications

Specimen size. 10 mm Ø (adaptor stub for 12 Hitachi stubs can be supplied on request).

Stage temperature range. Higher vacuum will allow for cooler temperatures, compatible with high vacuum levels to 1 x 10-5 Pa.

Standard Coolstage. -30ºC to +50ºC at 300 Pa with no external cooling water from the SEM (at ambient +20ºC).

Enhanced Coolstage. 30ºC to +160ºC at 300 Pa with no external cooling water from the SEM (at ambient +20ºC).

Ultra Coolstage. -50ºC to +50ºC at 300 Pa with no external cooling water from the SEM (at ambient +20ºC).

Temperature display resolution. 0.1ºC.

Temperature stability. +/- 0.2ºC.

Temperature accuracy. +/- 1.5ºC or 2% (whichever is greater).

Stage movement. Normal x, y and z movements are maintained. Tilt maintained for X-ray analysis (up to 45º). No rotation.

Working distance. As on SEM, Coolstage is set to the SEM eucentric height.

Operating voltage. 100 V or 115 V or 230 V at 100 VA, voltage tolerance +/- 10%.

Size and weight. Operation/display unit: 90 mm L x 112 mm W x 350 mm H, 300 g.

Power supply/cooling unit. 305 mm L x 245 mm W x 330 mm H, 15 kg.

Packed size and weight. 550 mm L x 580 mm W x 400 mm H, 28 kg.

Supplied with: 

Operating manual, one set of interconnecting cables and mains supply lead, storage block for specimen cooling unit when not in use, specimen holders: 15 x flat 10 mm stubs and 15 x dish-style 10 mm OD stubs.