High Vacuum Coating System for a wide range of applications

Equipped with a configurable metal process chamber, the EM ACE600 sputter coater is flexible and can be adapted to a wide range of applications. Reach your workflow goals and meet the needs of your lab by running up to two different sources in a single preparation process or even configure the EM ACE600 for advanced cryo workflows.

Whether you need to…

  • Perform high-resolution imaging of flat or structured non-conductive specimens
  • Enhance the contrast of nanometer scale structures, such as proteins or DNA strands
  • Produce thin, but strong support layers for TEM grids or
  • Provide protection layers for sensitive samples
  • Expand the system for cryo applications

… with the EM ACE600 carbon and sputter coater you got it covered.

EM ACE600 carbon, e-beam and sputter coater with cryo transfer dock

Reproducible high-quality thin films with sputter coating

Produce high-quality, sputter coated thin films consistently with every run with the EM ACE600 high vacuum coating system. Meet the right conditions for your advanced coating needs and achieve reproducible results thanks to the automated, receipt-based sputter coating process.

Perform high magnification SEM analysis up to 200kX and beyond, with an excellent base vacuum of <2x10-6 mbar and fine balanced process parameters for a range of sputter targets. Adjust the sample distance and coating angle to the needs of the morphology of the sample.

To even further enhance your coating results, you can use a Meissner trap to increase the vacuum to 10-7 mbar regime, and then try sputter targets or sample materials which are sensitive to oxygen.

2nm thick fine grained sputter coatings of different materials deposited onto SiOx substate, 200kX magnification.

Reproducible, high-quality thin films with carbon coating

With the EM ACE600 you can produce high-quality carbon films by using carbon thread coating, carbon rod coating, or e-beam evaporation.

Carbon thread evaporation has become a widely used method since

Leica Microsystems developed the unique adaptive pulsing approach implemented into the EM ACE600. It can produce precise, robust, and amorphous films with sub-nanometer thickness while minimizing the heat impact on the sample. Whether you are in need of nanometer thin, strong, and clean TEM support layers, diffuse (protection) coatings, or large homogeneous carbon layers, carbon thread is right choice.

For dedicated applications, such as rotary shadowing, you can use the e-beam evaporator. Its small beam divergence is ideal for shadow coating to enhance edge contrast of nanometer scale structures.

Precise Carbon deposition of 1 – 5 nm thick carbon films

Adapt the EM ACE600 to your needs

Run more than one process in a single coater instrument without breaking the vacuum, thanks to the large configurable metal process chamber of the EM ACE600. Simultaneously, combine a sputter head with an advanced carbon thread evaporator or choose two sputter sources enabling multi-layer metal coatings in a single preparation process.

  • Produce evenly distributed thin films over the entire 100 mm stage thanks to the optimized two-source concept with two angled ports and a rotating stage
  • Choose from robust carbon thread, e-beam, and sputter coater sources
  • Equip your EM ACE600 with glow discharge sputtering
  • Upgradable at any time on site
ACE600 configurable ports for two sources. Choose from: 1-carbon thread evaporation | 2-sputtering | 3-carbon rod evaporation | 4-e-beam evaporation

Stay focussed on the critical parts of your preparation process

Be confident that your routine sample preparation gets done with the press of a single button by using the EM ACE600 carbon and sputter coater. Simple and reliable workflows and convenient standard operating procedures enable you to focus on the critical parts of EM sample preparation. You can concentrate on optimizing your workflow and spend less time learning how to operate the system or training others how to use it.

  • Safe loading and unloading of sensitive samples via the front door
  • A workflow-based user interface and fast access to relevant parameters guides the way
  • Light-weight and robust sources for convenient daily handling
EM ACE600 touch screen operation with a workflow-based user interface

Expand to Cryo Workflows

Open up your laboratory to a full range of electron microscopy experiments by coating your samples under cryo conditions. The EM ACE600 carbon and sputter coater supports sample preparation for research, like structural analysis of biological samples in their native and hydrated state, by performing freeze fracture and, cryo coating followed by cryo sample transfer into the SEM with the help of the EM VCT500 transfer system.

The EM ACE600 offers:

  • An interface for cryo sample transfer
  • A cryo stage for coating under cryogenic conditions
  • A basic fracture device
EM ACE600 equipped with the EM VCT500 cryo transfer system

Choose the optimal configuration

Meet the needs of your daily lab work by configuring your EM ACE600 carbon and sputter coater.

Choose from a broad selection of sample holders and stages such the 3 axis stage with up to 3 motorized axes or the dedicated cooling stage.

Quickly exchangeable stage dishes make your EM ACE600 a multi-purpose tool.

1: motorized 3 axis stage | 2: rotary shadowing (LARS-) stage | 3: rotary „manual“ stage | 4: cryo stage

Ultra thin carbon films

Carbon coating has multiple applications for electron microscopy. It needs to be conductive, but invisible for the electron beam and should not have grain structure.

Thin films produced by the EM ACE600 carbon thread with adaptive pulsing are precise in thickness, strong, conductive and can even be baked out for further reduction of contamination. Ultimately, such films provide:

  • High transparency to electrons
  • Adequate strength to withstand electron bombardment
  • Uniform thickness, crucial for analytical investigations, quantitative imaging, or electron tomography
A: conventional carbon film (15 nm carbon); B: ultra-thin carbon film (3 nm). Easy observation of the lattice of CdSe quantum plates. Images acquired by Eva Bladt and Sara Bals (EMAT, University of Antwerp), Belgium. Courtesy of: Frederic Leroux and Jan de Weert. Sample courtesy of: Daniel Vanmaekelbergh, Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, University of Utrecht

Rotary Shadowing – make nanoscale structures visible

Configure your EM ACE600 with a dedicated low angle rotary shadowing (LARS) setup so you can image nanometer scaled structures, such as proteins or DNA strands, in the TEM. The EM ACE600 e-beam source together with a motorized LARS stage combines directive, low heat – impact, thin - film deposition with an optimized stage geometry for grazing incidence deposition. Once the DNA strands are shadow coated at a small angle with a fine grained platinum layer, a carbon layer is added to stabilize the fragile structures for analysis in the TEM.

TEM picture of a DNA replication fork of the budding yeast S.cerevisiae obtained using low angle rotary shadowing with the EM ACE600 e-beam coater

Choose the right workflow for your experiment

The EM ACE600 helps you get high quality results when conducting material science and biological experiments. Workflows range from standard TEM and SEM sample preparation to section tomography 3D workflows, FIB SEM, and more. For more information on workflow solutions for

Standard SEM Workflow

Investigate the surface architecture of chemically fixed samples with the standard SEM workflow. Prepare your samples with the EM TP tissue processer and critical point dry them afterwards with the EM CPD300. The next step is coating your samples with either the EM ACE200 or EM ACE600 followed by imaging in the SEM.

(1) Automated tissue processing (EM TP) | (2) Automated critical point drying (EM CPD300) | (3) Carbon and/or sputter coating (EM ACE200 / EM ACE600) | (4) Image analysis in the SEM

SEM / LM Solid State Preparation - Broad Ion Beam Cross Sectioning

This technique is most commonly used for solid state SEM samples, but can be applied for LM investigations as well. When the sample has a certain target to be exposed for observation, the sample needs to be well-cut to get the inner structure of the part of interest. Afterwards, for non-conductive samples, coating is necessary to make the sample suitable for SEM observation.

(1)– (3) Cross Sectioning, Target Preparation, Grinding (EM TXP) | (4) & (5) Ion Beam Milling & High End Polishing (EM TIX 3X or EM RES102) | (6) Coating (EM ACE200 / EM ACE600) | (7) SEM Analysis

Cryo-SEM Sample Preparation and Transfer - Broad Ion Beam Cross Sectioning

This cryo transfer workflow is used for high pressure frozen samples including hard and brittle material (e.g. clay with quartz). The sample has to be kept at a temperature -150 °C during the complete preparation process, from high pressure freezing, over mechanical pre-preparation using the cryo-saw, followed by an ion beam milling step and finally transferring it to the Cryo-SEM.

(1) High Pressure Freezing (EM ICE) | (2)- (3) Cross Sectioning & Cutting (EM VCM) | (4) Transfer (EM VCT500) | (5) Ion Beam Milling (EM TIC 3X) | (6) Transfer (EM VCT500) | (7) Coating (EM ACE600) | (8) Cryo-SEM Analysis

SEM / LM Solid State Preparation - Broad Ion Beam Polishing

This technique is used for large solid state SEM or LM samples. When a large area (several cm2) of the sample has to be investigated at a highest quality level (e.g. EBSD), the sample is mechanically pre-prepared (mirror-like finish) and finally prepared with the ion beam polishing method.

(1) & (2) Surfacing & Polishing  (EM TXP) | (3) & (4) Ion Beam Milling & High End Polishing (EM TIC 3X or EM RES102) | (5) Coating (EM ACE200 / EM ACE600) | (6) SEM Analysis

Section Tomography 3D Workflow

With this workflow you can study the organization and interaction of biological structures within a defined 3D volume. The first step is to process your samples at room temperature, followed by semi-thick serial sectioning onto TEM grids. After the staining step, then proceed with TEM imaging.

(1) Automated tissue processing (EM TP) | (2) Trimming (EM TRIM2) | (3) Serial sectioning (EM UC7) | (4) Staining (EM AC20) | (5) Image analysis in the TEM

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