MAIDENHEAD, England, Dec. 29, 2010 — Hitachi High-Technologies Corp. has unveiled the Zonesem desktop scanning electron microscope (SEM) sample cleaning system, specifically designed for cleaning and storing electron microscopy samples in readiness for high-quality imaging and analysis. It uses a nondestructive ultraviolet cleaning process to quickly remove surface hydrocarbons from scanning electron microscope samples. The system renders high-resolution and/or surface imaging using secondary electrons, backscattered electrons or scanning transmission methods much easier by removing surface hydrocarbon layers that could cause focusing and astigmatism difficulties that would obscure surface and edge detail. Samples prepared in this way also offer better results for energy- and wavelength-dispersive x-ray analysis and for electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), where surface contamination can suppress EBSD pattern formation. The compact cleaning system measures 360 × 390 × 480 mm and uses dry pumping. Fully microprocessor-controlled, it is ready for use in <2 min and can provide either vacuum cleaning, or vacuum cleaning and vacuum storage. Cleaning times can be controlled in 1-min steps for up to 30 min of total cleaning time.