REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 2, 2011 — For use with its Evactron decontaminator plasma cleaning system for electron microscopes and other vacuum chambers, XEI Scientific Inc. has introduced the SoftClean specimen cleaning chamber. Electron microscopy imaging can be degraded by hydrocarbons carried into the microscope chamber on specimens and specimen mounts. SoftClean, when used with an Evactron decontaminator and a vacuum pump, can preclean high hydrocarbon contamination levels from the sample surface by a downstream ashing process before introduction into the microscope chamber. The SoftClean chamber also can be used as a stand-alone storage system, preserving clean specimens. The SoftClean/Evactron decontaminator combination is not a plasma cleaner in the usual sense. Samples are cleaned by a downstream radio-frequency plasma process that breaks down hydrocarbons into CO2, CO & H2O. Unlike plasma cleaners that sputter with energetic ion species and that can damage specimens by heat and ion bombardment, the delicate downstream process chemically ashes hydrocarbons and pumps them free of the chamber. The chamber measures 216 mm in diameter and is 140 mm high. There are four KF 40 and 1 KF 16 vacuum mounting flanges with a manual shut-off valve for the vacuum port. Adaptor flanges for transmission electron microscope sample holders are available. There is a venting port and a plated aluminum lid with a 5.5-in.-outer-diameter glass view port. The unit weighs 6 kg. A proprietary plasma source uses air to produce oxygen radicals for oxidation of carbon compounds for removal by the pumps. Carbon-free vacuum produces high-quality images and analytical results from scanning electron microscopes and other vacuum analytical instruments. The system is compliant with CE, NRTL and Semi-S2 safety standards.