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Publication numberUS3679900 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 25, 1972
Filing dateDec 2, 1969
Priority dateDec 3, 1968
Publication numberUS 3679900 A, US 3679900A, US-A-3679900, US3679900 A, US3679900A
InventorsKimura Chikara
Original AssigneeHitachi Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Specimen holder transfer mechanism for an electron microscope
US 3679900 A
Abstract
A specimen chamber in an electron microscope and the like apparatus, which is so designed that a plurality of specimens are accommodated in a small, specimen storage and exchanging compartment adjacent to a specimen stage provided within a bodytube in a path of an electron beam, which compartment may be formed symmetrically on both sides of the specimen stage, and after evacuating the small compartment to vacuum, a vacuum sealing between the specimen stage and the small compartment is removed and a desired one of the plurality of specimens is transferred onto the specimen stage.
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0 United States Patent [151 3,679,900

54} SPECIMEN HOLDER TRANSFER FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS xi g a gg AN ELECTRON 911,060 5/1954 Germany ..2so/49.s

[72] inventor: Chikara Kimura, Katsuta-shi, Japan OTHER PUBLICATIONS Specimen Storage Magazine for the HU- ll High Resolu- [73] Ass'gnee' Hitachi Tokyo Japan tion Diffraction Attachment" by H. Koehler et al. From The 22 Filed; 2, 19 9 Review of Scientific instruments, Vol. 36, No. 11, Nov., 1965,

Page 1664. [21] Appl. No.: 881,498

Primary Examiner-William F. Lindquist Foreign pp i i y Data Attorney-Craig, Antonelli & Dec. 3, I968 Japan ..43/88871 [57] ABSTRACT 52 us. Cl 250/495 B A Specimen chamber in elem micmmpe and like 511 Int. Cl. .1101;- 37/26 cm 23/00 aPPaams' which is designed a plurality Specimens 58] Field of Search 50 5 A B 49 5 PE are accommodated in a small, specimen storage and exchang, ing compartment adjacent to a specimen stage provided 56] References Cited within a bodytube in a path of an electron beam, which come partment may be formed symmetrically on both sides of the UNITED STATES PATENTS specimen stage, and after evacuating the small compartment to vacuum, a vacuum sealing between the specimen stage and 2,220,973 11/1940 Marten ..250/49.5 the Small compartment is removed and a desired one of the 2,3625 15 1 1/ 1 944 w plurality of specimens is transferred onto the specimen stage. 2,849,619 3/1958 Elsfeldt ....250/49.5 3,342,992 9/l967 Schmidt et al ..250/49.5 6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures .9 i I 2/ x U 4 I.

1 ,1 v 1 /5 5 I a 306 0 32a i 2 l E .L a) w .1

v x 29 2 20 '/X 300 PRTENTEBJULZS m2 SHEET 1 0F 4 INVENTOR CHIKRRA K MMRA Q 7 W M Q/ ATTORNEYJ PHENTED L m2 3.679.900

SHEET 2 OF 4 INVENTOR CHI/(A RA K M R A ATTORNEYS SHEET 3 0F 4 INVENTOR CHZKARA KIMLARR ATTORNEYS PATENIEBJms [an SHEET l 0F 4 I. .Illn2" INVENTOR CHIKARA KIM PA ATTORNEYS SPECIMEN HOLDER TRANSFER MECHANISM FOR AN ELECTRON MICROSCOPE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to an apparatus for analyzing a specimen qualitatively and quantitatively utilizing an electron beam, by irradiating the electron beam on the specimen and analyzing electrons passed through or reflected X-rays emitted from the specimen, etc. More particularly, the invention relates to a specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus.

2. Description of the Prior Art The specimen chamber in an electron microscope or the like apparatus is required to be constructed such that a specimen can be changed easily quickly and a fine movement of the specimen can be effected smoothly in a stable manner. Namely, since the interior of the bodytube is maintained vacuum, it has been necessary to evacuate the interior of the specimen chamber to vacuum at each time the specimen is to be changed, and the time required for such evacuation has been a great inconvenience in the operation of the electron microscope and the like apparatus. For this reason, the socalled air-lock system is now being employed in the exchange of specimens. Namely, a plurality of specimens are introduced into a small, specimen storage and exchanging compartment adjacent to a specimen stage provided within the bodytube under a path of electron beam and after evacuating the small chamber to vacuum by means of a vacuum pump, a sealing between said small chamber and a specimen stage within the bodytube is removed and a desired one of the samples stored in said small chamber is transferred onto the specimen stage.

Various mechanisms have been proposed for achieving the above-described operation. These mechanisms are required to satisfy the following conditions:

i. The mechanism is highly precise functionally.

ii. The mechanism can be operated externally of the bodytube.

iii. The mechanism is compact in size and simple in construction as it is mounted in a limited space.

iv. The time required for the exchange of a specimen and the operation associated therewith will not adversely afi'ect the operation of the electron microscope and the like apparatus.

However, it cannot be said that any one of the conventional specimen chambers singly satisfies all of the conditions set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, the primary object of the present invention to provide a specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus, which is so constructed that a plurality of specimens are accommodated in a small, specimen storage and exchanging compartment adjacent to a specimen stage provided within a bodytube under a path of electron beam and after evacuating said small compartment to vacuum, a vacuum sealing between said specimen stage and said small compartment is removed and a desired one of the specimens in the small compartment is transferred onto said specimen stage, and which enables the observation and analysis of the specimen to be carried out quickly and continuously.

The second object of the invention is to provide a specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus, of

the character described above, in which the small specimen storage and exchange compartment is provided symmetrically on each side of the specimen stage provided within the bodytube under a path of electron beam, in adjacent relation to said specimen stage, whereby a larger number and greater variety of specimens than before can optionally selectively be analyzed.

The third object of the invention is to provide a specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus, of the character described above, in which the small specimen storage and exchanging compartment is provided symmetrically on each side of the specimen stage within the bodytube, so that any one of a plurality of specimens stored in a first one of said small compartments may be transferred onto the said specimen stage for analysis and analyzed thereon can be accommodated into a second one of the compartments or taken out of the body from said second one of the compartments upon completion of the observation and analysis on the specimen stage, whereby a specimen which is susceptible to oxidation or contamination in the atmosphere can be stored or a plurality of specimens which were prepared under the same conditions can be analyzed and observed while storing them in the same degree of vacuum.

The fourth object of the invention is to provide a specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus, of the character described above, in which means is provided which is capable of mounting a specimen on the specimen stage provided within the bodytube under a path of electron beam and being movable finely in two directions, or of removing the specimen from said specimen stage, independently of a fine movement of the specimen stage and regardless of the position of the specimen on said specimen stage, no matter at what position the specimen holder may be.

Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the bodytube of an electron microscope or the like apparatus through a plane perpendicular to the axis of a path of electron beam;

FIG. 2a is a vertical cross-sectional view taken on the line II II of FIG. 1;

FIG. 2b is a view similar to FIG. 2a, showing the state after part of the constitutional elements has been moved;

FIG. 3 is a vertical cross-sectional view taken on the line lll III of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4a is a view similar to FIG. 3, showing the state after part of the constitutional elements has been rotated in a counterclockwise direction;

FIG. 4b is a view showing the state afier part of the constitutional elements shown in FIG. 4a has been moved; and

FIG. 5 is a vertical cross-sectional view of a specimen holder, mounted on the specimen stage being movable finely in two directions.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The present invention contemplates the provision of a specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus, which is so constructed that a plurality of specimens are accommodated in a small, specimen storage and exchanging compartment adjacent to a specimen stage provided within a bodytube under the path of the electron beam. After evacuating said small compartment, a vacuum sealing between said specimen stage and said small compartment is removed and a desired one of the specimens in the small compartment is transferred onto said specimen stage.

Hereinafter, a preferred embodiment of the invention will be described with reference to the drawings. In describing the construction of the preferred embodiment, reference is had mainly to FIG. 1 but occasionally to FIGS. 2a and 3. Referring to FIG. 1, numeral 1 designates a basic structure of the specimen chamber provided in the main portion of the bodytube. The basic structure defines a cavity 2 for mounting a specimen stage 48 and carrier means for carrying a specimen holder 30 with a specimen to be analyzed charged therein, which will be described later, and small compartments 3 and 4 formed'on both sides of the cavity 2 in which a plurality of specimen are exchanged and stored. The basic structure 1 of the specimen chamber is air-sealably interposed between an irradiation system 7 and an image-forming system 8 through ackings 5, 6, such as gaskets or O-rings, said irradiation system comprising an electron gun and condenser lenses, and said image-forming system including an objective lens, a fluorescent screen and a photographic device.

The specimen storage and exchanging compartment 3 includes a sealing gate 12 with a packing 11 for sealing the cavity 2 and said compartment from each other, a preliminary exhaust tube 14 for preliminary evacuating said compartment and a specimen exchanging compartment unit 16 sealed by a packing is. The sealing gate 12 can be moved by a shaft extending to the outside of the bodytube and sealed by a packing 9, and the preliminary exhaust tube 14 is sealed by a packing l3.

The specimen exchanging compartment unit 16 includes a rotary mount 27 and a specimen removing gate 29 with a packing 28. The rotary mount 27 can be rotated about a shaft 260 from the outside of the bodytube by a handle 26 which is sealed by a packing 25. The specimen exchanging compartment unit 16 is removably mounted on the basic structure 1 of the specimen chamber. The rotary mount 27 has a plurality of specimen holder mounting holes 32a, 32b, 32c (the rotary mount shown is provided with 8 of such holes) for mounting therein specimen holders 30a, 30b, 30c each having a specimen to be analyzed charged therein. The: specimen holder mounting holes are each provided with a fixing member I3, such as a plate spring, for fixing the specimen holder therein.

The compartment 4 similarly includes a sealing gate 20 with a packing 19 which can be moved by a shaft 18 extending to the outside of the bodytube and sealed by a packing 17, a preliminary exhaust tube 22 sealed by a packing 21 and a sealing gate 24 provided with a packing 23.

The cavity 2 includes a specimen stage 48 (see FIG. 5) located the path of an electron beam and being finely movable horizontally in two directions to provide for the selection of a field of vision during observation and analysis of the specimen, and carrier means for carrying an optional one of the plurality of specimen holders 30a, 30b, 30c accommodated in the compartment 3 or 4, onto the specimen stage 48. The carrier means comprises a sealing member 34 sealed by a packing 33, a hollow shaft 36a extending through said sealing member 34 and sealed by a packing 35,. a carrier member 37 connected to one end of said hollow shaft 360 and being rotatable about an axis perpendicular to the axis of the path of the electron beam by a handle 36 from the outside of the bodytube, and a cylinder 43 being rotatable by the handle 36 along with said carrier member 37 and also movable within said carrier member in a direction perpendicular to the axis of rotation of said carrier member independently of rotation of said carrier member. The cylinder 43 has an electron beam passage and is positioned coaxially with the axis of the path of the electron beam under normal conditions (the condition of FIG. 3). The 0-point as shown in FIG. 1 is the axis of the passage of the electron beam. A longitudinally extending portion 47 of the peripheral wall of the cylinder 43, is formed with a hook 47a and a tapered portion 47b at one end thereof, and is pivotable about a fulcrum 46.

Extending inside the hollow shaft 36a is a shaft 39a which is sealed by a packing 38 and rotatable together with said hollow shaft 36a. The shaft 39a can also be rotated independently of the hollow shaft 36:: from the outside of the bodytube, by a handle 39 connected to one end thereof. The other end of the shaft 39a is provided with a circular gear 40 and an annular projection 45.

The gear 40 is in engagement with pinions 41, 42 mounted in the carrier member 37, and said pinions 41, 42 are in engagement with a rack 43a provided longitudinally on a portion of the peripheral wall of the cylinder 43. (see FIG. 3). Thus, it will be seen that by rotating the handle 39, the cylinder 43 can be moved within the carrier member 37 in a direction perpendicular to the rotational axis of said carrier member.

The handle 39 is constantly urged in the direction of the arrow a to part from the handle 36, under the biasing force of a spring 44. The annular projection 45 is opposed to the longitudinal portion 47 of the peripheral wall of the cylinder 43. Therefore, when the handle 39 is pushed in the direction of the arrow b under the condition shown in FIG. 2b, the annular projection 45 pushes one end of the portion 47, causing said portion to make a pivotal movement about the fulcrum 46, whereby the specimen holder 30 being held by the hook 47a can be released therefrom.

The specimen holder 30 includes, as shown in FIG. 5, a specimen holding member 30 having an electron beam passage, means 30 for mounting a specimen to be analyzed 30,, on one end portion of said holding member 30, and a slid ing member 30 fitted into the other end portion of said holding member 30 and being slidable in a direction perpendicular to the axis 0 of the path of electron beam. The sliding member 30 has a tapered portion 30 The specimen stage 48 can be moved finely by the fine movement adjusting rods 49, 50 sealed by packing 49a and 500 respectively, which rods are actuatable from the outside of the body of the apparatus. As stated above, the specimen stage 48 must be movable horizontally in two directions very finely and smoothly, so as to enable a field of vision to be selected in the process of observation. It is also required to be stable against an external vibration and to be capable of moving the specimen in a wide range. However, it is extremely difficult for the specimen stage to simultaneously satisfy both of such contradictory requirements and the mechanism for moving the specimen stage finely in two directions has been one of the elements which determine the performance of an electron microscope and the like apparatus. Such problem has been solved by the present invention. Namely, according to the present invention, as shown in FIG. 2b and FIG. 5, when the specimen holder 30, mounted on the specimen stage 48, is carried by the cylinder 43, the tapered portion 47b of the portion 47 of the peripheral wall of the cylinder 43 engages the specimen holder 30 very smoothly by the action of the sliding member 30 and the tapered portion 30 of said specimen holder, no matter what position the specimen holder may be in upon being finely moved by the specimen stage, so that the cylinder 43 can easily catch the specimen holder 30 by the action of the hook 470. Such effect can also be obtained when the specimen holder 30, caught by the cylinder 43, is to be mounted on the specimen stage 48 at the moved position from the normal one as a result of fine movement.

Now, the operation of the specimen chamber constructed as described above will be described hereinafter:

With reference to FIGS. 1 to 3, the main portion of the body of the electron microscope or the like apparatus and the cavity 2 are maintained highly vacuum and hence in an operable condition. In the compartment 3, the specimen holders 30a, 30b, 30c each containing a specimen to be analyzed, are mounted in the specimen holder mounting holes 32a, 32b, 32c of the rotary mount 27 respectively, and the interior of said compartment 3 is evacuated through the preliminary exhaust tube 14 and maintained at a predetermined degree of vacuum.

1. First of all, the sealing gate 12 is moved in the direction of the arrow Y by the shaft 10, to communicate the cavity 2 and the compartment 3 with each other.

2. The handle 36 is turned in a counterclockwise direction from the position shown in FIG. 1, whereby the carrier member 37 is shifted to the position shown in FIG. 4a.

3. Then, the handle 39 is revolved, whereupon the pinions 41, 42 are rotated through the gear 40 and the cylinder 43 is pushed out into the compartment 3 through the rack 43a in engagement with said pinions 41, 42, and finally is thrusted against the rotary mount 27. The forward end of the portion 47 of the wall of the cylinder 43 is forced open by the engagement between the tapered portion 47b of said portion 47 and the tapered portion 30., of the specimen holder 30, and the specimen holder 30,. located in a position X in FIG. 1 is securely held in the cylinder 43 by the action of the hook 47a as shown in FIG. 4b.

4. By revolving the handle 39 in an opposite direction in this state, the specimen holder 30 is drawn into the carrier member 37 while being gripped by the cylinder 43. Then, the specimen holder 30 is shifted to the position shown in FIG. 3 by revolving the handle 36 90 in a counterclockwise direction. The state of FIG. 3 is attained from the state of FIG. 4b via the state of FIG. 4a, by operating steps (1), (2) and (3) in a reverse way.

5. The sealing gate 12 is moved by the shaft to seal the cavity 2 and the compartment 3 from each other (as shown in FIG. 3).

6. The cylinder 43 is lowered and brought into pressure contact with the specimen stage 48, as shown in FIG. 21:, by revolving the handle 39. Here, the handle 39 is pushed in the direction of the arrow b, whereupon the annular projection 45 at the inner end of said handle pushes the upper end of the portion 47 of the peripheral wall of the cylinder 43, so that the portion 47 pivots about the fulcrum 46, thus opening the hook 47a. Successively thereafter, the handle 39 is revolved in a reverse direction, whereupon the cylinder 43 is lifted and thus the specimen holder 30 is mounted on the specimen stage 48. Namely, an electron beam passes through the axial hollow of the cylinder 43 and impinges upon the specimen 30,, (see FIG. 5) contained in the specimen holder 30, whereby the specimen is analyzed. In the process of analysis, the specimen stage 48 can be finely moved horizontally in a longitudinal and transverse directions from the outside of the apparatus, independently of the body of the apparatus.

7. When the specimen is desired to be removed from the specimen stage 48 upon completion of the analysis, the handle 39 is revolved to lower the cylinder 43 again until it engages the specimen holder 30 mounted on the specimen stage 48. The portion 47 of the peripheral wall of the cylinder 43 is opened by the engagement between the tapered portion 47b of said portion 47 with the tapered portion 30., of the specimen holder 30, and the specimen holder 30 is securely held in said cylinder 43 by the hook 47a. By revolving the handle 39 in a reverse direction, the specimen holder 30 is removed from the specimen stage 48 while being held in the cylinder 43, and drawn into the carrier member 37. Thereafter, the handle 36 is revolved 90 in a counterclockwise direction.

8. The cavity 2 and the compartment 3 are communicated with each other by the same operation as (1) above and the carrier member 37 is shifted to the position shown in FIG. 4a by the same operation as (2) above.

9. Then, the handle 39 is revolved in a reverse direction while pressing it in the direction of the arrow b, whereby the portion 47 of the peripheral wall of the cylinder 43 is opened by the annular projection 45 and the specimen holder 30 is inserted into the specimen holder mounting hole 32 of the rotary mount 27. The specimen holder 30 thus inserted is securely fixed in the mounting hole 32 by means of the fixing member 31 which is provided in said mounting hole as stated previously.

By steps (7) to (9) described above which are steps (3) to (6) operated in a reverse way, the position of the specimen chamber is shifted from FIG. 2b to FIG. 4b via FIGS. 2a and 4a.

The handle 39 is constantly urged outwardly under the biasing force of the spring 44 acting in the direction of the arrow 11, as described previously, throughout the above-described operation, and further the upper portion of the portion 47 of the peripheral wall of the cylinder 43 above the fulcrum pivot pin 46 is pushed by the annular projection 45 at the inner end of the shaft 39a of the handle 39, only when the cylinder 43 is in pressure contact with the specimen stage 48 or the rotary mount 27 (in the state shown in FIG. 2b or FIG. 4b). Therefore, the portion 47 of the peripheral wall of the cylinder 43 will not be opened and hence the specimen holder 30 will not be disengaged from the hook 47a, in the condition of the cylinder 43 being retracted into the carrier member 37 as shown in FIG. 2a, even if the handle 39 is pushed in the direction of the arrow b.

10. For changing the specimen to be analyzed, it is only necessary to rotate the handle 26 about the axis 26a to turn the rotary mount 27 and thereby to locate a specimen holder 30, containing the desired specimen, in the position X shown in FIG. 1.

In this case, if the handle 26 is provided with markings each at a location corresponding to the position of a specific one of the plurality of specimen holders 30a, 30b, 30c when said specific specimen holder is located in the position X, it will be possible to transfer an optional one of the specimen holders onto the specimen stage 48 as desired, with reference to said markings, and hence to carry out the analysis of the specimens with high efficiency in a very short period of time.

11. For removing the specimen to the outside of the apparatus upon completion of the analysis, the sealing gate 12 is moved by the shaft 10 to seal the cavity 2 and the compartment 3 from each other. Then, air is admitted through the preliminary exhaust tube 14 into the compartment 3 to allow the pressure in said compartment only to rise to the atmospheric pressure. After opening the specimen removing gate 29, the rotary mount 27 is rotated by the handle 26 to bring the specific specimen holder 30 to the position of the specimen removing gate 29 and then said specimen holder is removed to the outside of the apparatus.

12. When a different specimen is to be newly set in the compartment 3, the above-described steps of removing the specimen holder from the apparatus are operated in a reverse way. Namely, a specimen holder 30 with the new specimen charged therein is mounted in the specimen holder mounting hole 32 of the rotary mount 27 and the compartment 3 is evacuated through the preliminary exhaust tube 14 to a predetermined degree of vacuum.

As stated previously, the specimen exchanging compartment unit 16 can be removed from the basic structure 1 of the specimen chamber, and with the sealing gate 12 in a closed position, the degree of vacuum in the cavity 2 is not subject to any change and the operation of the electron microscope or the like apparatus is not impaired by the removal of said specimen exchanging compartment unit 16. Therefore, it is also possible to set a plurality of specimen holders in the rotary mount 27 all at once, by removing the specimen holder compartment unit 16 properly from the basic structure 1 of the specimen chamber.

It is also to be noted that according to the embodiment illustrated the basic structure 1 of the specimen chamber is symmetrical in shape with respect to the axis of the apparatus, so that by removing the sealing gate 24 the specimen exchanging compartment unit 16 can be connected to the compartment 4 to perform the above-described specimen holder mounting and demounting operations therein.

It will, therefore, be understood that by connecting the specimen exchanging compartment unit 16 to each of the compartments 3 and 4, twice as many specimen as in the case described above can simultaneously be charged in the apparatus, which is of great advantage.

Further, when the specimen exchanging compartment units 16 are connected to both of the compartments 3 and 4, the following operation will become possible.

Namely, with a plurality of specimen holders 30a, 30b, 30c each with specimen to be analyzed being mounted only in the rotary mount 27 in the specimen exchanging compartment unit 16 connected to the compartment 3 and with the rotary mount in the specimen exchanging compartment unit connected to the compartment 4 being left empty (with no specimen holder mounted therein), each of the specimen holders 30 transferred onto the specimen stage 48 through the compartment 3 and analyzed thereon can be taken out of the body of the apparatus by transferring the specimen holder 30 into the rotary mount in the compartment unit connected to the compartment 4 upon completion of the analysis, closing a sealing gate 20 by means of a shaft 18, admitting air into the compartment 4 only through a preliminary exhaust tube 22 and opening the specimen removing gate of said compartment unit. In this case, the remaining specimen holders in the com partment 3 are maintained in a predetermined degree of vacuum throughout the operation of analyzing the selected one and removing the same from the apparatus upon completion of the analysis.

It is also possible to set a specimen on the specimen stage 48 through the compartment 4, separately from those specimens accommodated in the compartment 3, and remove the same from the apparatus through the same compartment 4 upon completion of the analysis.

in this case, the specimen accommodated in the compartment 3 are also maintained in a predetermined degree of vacuum throughout the operation, as in the case described above, which is highly convenient in storing the specimens.

As described above, according to the specimen chamber of this invention it is possible to accommodate a plurality of specimens in the apparatus all at once and to analyze an optionally selected one of them quickly and continuously while maintaining a predetermined degree of vacuum in the main portion of the apparatus.

In addition to the advantage that a larger number of specimens than before can be charged in the apparatus simultaneously and analyzed successively, there is a further advantage that even after the specimens have been set in the ap paratus, a separate specimen can be placed in the apparatus and removed therefrom upon completion of the analysis of the same, while maintaining the initially set specimens in the vacuum condition. Therefore, a desired one can be selected from a series of specimens, such as biological thin section, and analyzed in a highly efficient manner. Further, a comparative analysis of two or more specimens can highly efficiently be attained. Still further, with the specimen chamber of the invention a plurality of specimens which are susceptible to oxidation or contamination upon exposure to the air or which have been prepared under the same conditions, can selectively be analyzed while maintaining them in the same vacuum condi-. tions. As such, the specimen chamber of the present invention has a number of excellent advantages which could not be attained by the conventional one.

i claim:

1. A specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus, comprising i. a specimen stage located across an electron beam path in the main portion of the apparatus,

2. means for moving said specimen stage finely in two directions perpendicular to the electron beam path from the outside of the apparatus,

3. a specimen storage and exchanging compartment located adjacent to said specimen stage for holding a plurality of specimens,

4. rotary mount means supporting a plurality of specimen holders in said compartment for holding specimens to be analyzed,

5. a sealing gate for sealing said compartment and said specimen stage from each other,

6. means for moving said sealing gate from the outside of the apparatus,

7. an exhaust tube for introducing air into or exhausting air from said compartment,

8. specimen holder transfer means mounted within the apparatus for transfen'ing any one of the specimen holders from said compartment onto said specimen stage,

9. means outside the compartment for rotating said rotary mount means to sequentially position the specimen holders in alignment with the transfer means, and

10. means for operating the specimen holder transfer means from the outside of the apparatus,

wherein said specimen holder transfer means comprises a. a principal body mounted in the path of the electron beam and being rotatable about an axis perpendicular to the axis of the path of the electron beam and having an electron beam passage transverse to the axis of rotation of the principal body,

b. means for rotating said principal body from the outside of the apparatus,

c. a cylinder having an axial passage for the electron beam for holding and moving the specimen holder between said compartment and said specimen stage and being mounted in electron beam passage of said principal body for rotation therewith and being movable in said principal body relative thereto in a direction perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the principal body, a longitudinally extending portion of the peripheral wall of the cylinder being pivotable about a pivot pin provided at a preselected position between one end and the other end of the longitudinally extending portion, said one end having a hook and a tapered portion for engaging a specimen holder,

holding means for forcing the one end of the longitudinally extending portion towards the inside of the cylinder to thereby hold the specimen holder between the one end of the longitudinally extending portion and the inner surface of the cylinder,

e. releasing means for releasing the hold on the specimen holder between the one end of the longitudinally extending portion and the inner surface of the cylinder, and

f. means for operating the cylinder and the releasing means from the outside of the apparatus.

2. A specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus as defined in claim 1 which further comprises a sliding member engaged with the specimen holder so as to be independently movable in every direction normal to the axis thereof, the sliding member being held between the one end of the longitudinally extending portion and the inner surface of the cylinder.

3. A specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said means for moving the cylinder from the outside of the apparatus comprises l. a member extending through a rotating shaft for the principal body of the transfer means and being rotatable independently of the rotation of said principal body with one end thereof located outside of the apparatus, the other end of said member being provided with a gearing and a projection which is in opposed relation to a longitudinally extending portion of the peripheral wall of said cylinder,

2. pinions mounted in the principal body of said transfer means in meshing engagement with said gearing, and

3. a rack provided on said longitudinally extending portion of the peripheral wall of said cylinder and meshing with said pinions.

4. A specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus as defined in claim 3, which further comprises a sliding member engaged with the specimen holder so as to be independently movable in every direction normal to the axis thereof, the sliding member being held between the one end of the longitudinally extending portion and the inner surface of the cylinder.

5. A specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus, comprising,

1. a specimen stage located across an electron beam path in the main portion of the apparatus,

2. means for moving said specimen stage finely in two directions perpendicular to the electron beam path from the outside of the apparatus,

3. a specimen storage and exchanging compartment located symmetrically on each side of and adjacent to said specimen stage for holding a plurality of specimens,

4. rotary mount means supporting a plurality of specimen holders in said compartments for holding specimens to be analyzed,

5. sealing gates for sealing each compartment and said specimen stage from each other,

6. means for moving said sealing gates from the outside of the apparatus,

7. an exhaust tube for introducing air into or exhausting air from said compartments,

a principal body mounted in the path of the electron beam and being rotatable about an axis perpendicular to the axis of the path of the electron beam and having an electron beam passage transverse to the axis of rotation of the principal body,

. means for rotating said principal body from the outside of the apparatus,

. a cylinder having an axial passage for the electron beam for holding and moving the specimen holder between said compartments and specimen stage and being mounted in electron beam passage of said principal body for rotation therewith and being movable in said principal body relative thereto in a direction perpendicular to the axis of rotation of said principal body, said cylinder being coaxial with the path of the electron beam and a longitudinally extending portion of the peripheral wall of the cylinder being pivotable about a pivot pin provided at a preselected position between one end and the other end of the longitudinally extending portion, said one end having a hook and tapered portion for engaging a specimen holder,

d. holding means for forcing the one end of the longitudinally extending portion towards the inside of the cylinder to thereby hold the specimen holder between the one end of the longitudinally extending portion and the inner surface of the cylinder,

e. releasing means for releasing the hold on the specimen holder between the one end of the longitudinally extending portion and the inner surface of the cylinder, and

f. means for operating the cylinder and the releasing means from the outside of the apparatus.

6. A specimen chamber of an electron microscope and the like apparatus as defined in claim 5, wherein said means for moving said cylinder from the outside of the apparatus comprises l. a member extending through a rotating shaft for the principal body of the transfer means and being rotatable independently of the rotation of said principal body with one end thereof located outside of the apparatus, the other end of said member being provided with a gearing and a projection which is in opposed relation to a longitudinally extending portion of the peripheral wall of said cylinder,

2. pinions mounted in the principal body of said transfer means in meshing engagement with said gearing, and

3. a rack provided on said longitudinally extending portion of the peripheral wall of said cylinder and meshing with said pinions.

Patent Citations
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Non-Patent Citations
Reference
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3795808 *May 17, 1972Mar 5, 1974Drayton WElectron microscopes
US3858049 *Sep 17, 1973Dec 31, 1974Etec CorpMethod and apparatus for sem specimen coating and transfer
US3886358 *May 23, 1974May 27, 1975Us EnergySpecimen transfer container for ion microprobe mass analyzer
US4033904 *Dec 24, 1975Jul 5, 1977Varian Associates, Inc.Interchangeable specimen trays and apparatus for a vacuum type testing system
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Classifications
U.S. Classification250/441.11
International ClassificationH01J37/18, H01J37/20
Cooperative ClassificationH01J37/20, H01J37/18
European ClassificationH01J37/18, H01J37/20