An extra room is dedicated to the preparation laboratory where the preparation and storage of samples and equipment are possible. In the preparation laboratory, users can find an optical microscope, a table for preparation and several cabinets (for storing acetone and ethanol, tools and for storing UHV components).

The optical microscope is mounted on a dedicated optical table and a highly stable micromanipulator system with W probe tips is installed close to the microscope body, as shown in the figure below.

A photo of the preparation lab environment at MAXPEEM

The inspection of a sample surface under the optical microscope is recommended to ensure the tidiness of the surface before loading the sample in the UHV chamber: the presence of micrometre-sized contaminants will most likely produce sparks during experiments in the SPELEEM microscope. The micromanipulator allows both the removal of contaminants from the sample surface and the fine manipulation of nanostructures over the surface when needed.

The main charcteristics of the optical microscope and the micromanipulator are reported in the tables below:

Optical microscope

CameraOlympus SC50
Image recording software OLYMPUS Stream Basic 2.3
ImageSize (in pixels) 2560 x 1920
Size (calibrated) 4.5 mm x 3.4 mm
Lenses properties
MPLAPO 2.5x/0.08 – working distance 10700 µm

MPL-BD 10x/0.25 – working distance 7000 µm

LMPLFLN-BD 20x/0.40 – working distance 12000 µm

LMPLFLN-BD 50x/0.50 – working distance 10600 µm

SLMPLN 100x/0.60 – working distance 7500 µm

Camera adapter magnification: 0.5x
Stage motionx, y
z for the focus adjustment with coarse and fine motion
PolarizerOlympus U-DICR Nomarski Prism Reflected Light
OtherRecording images and video, adjusting the focus within the same ROI while recording the image, measuring features and structures on the surface, and many more options.


Rigid stand with platformThorlabs MP150

– platform adjustable height: 198.1 mm (Min), 309.3 mm (Max)

– 360° rotation

– horizontal travel
3-Axis MicroBlockThorlabs MBT616D/M

– travel range: coarse 4 mm; fine 300 µm

– adjustment: coarse 500 µm/rev; fine 50 µm/rev
W Probe Tips Oxford Instruments NanoAnalysis PT-0001.05.01

– tip radius: <0.5 µm

– taper angle: 6°

– shank diameter: 0.508 mm

– needle length: 19.304 mm