Silson Products

Liquid Environment Cells or In-Situ Cells

There is increasing demand to examine specimens within a wet environment using x-ray microscopy. Liquid Environment Cells, in-situ cells, or simply liquid samples can be all studied with the assistance of a wide variety of substrate options available from Silson.  Most of these are based around a transmission-cell with a liquid sealed between two high quality silicon nitride membranes. A patterned SU-8 polymer spacer is used to vary the spacing between 1 and 50 µm. Normally, membrane thickness on each side of the cell is 100 nm.

SU-8 is a epoxy-based negative photoresist, photo imageable to near UV (365nm) radiation and commonly used in the fabrication of MEMS (micro-electronic and mechanical systems). We have conducted some analysis into the chemical compatibility of organic solvents with SU-8:

Silson has the ability to customise the design on request, changing the membrane size and thickness along with the spacer design to best suit a particular application.

We can also supply metal holders, which hold the cell together with a screw in each corner. These holders are to load liquid samples in an in-situ holder, and also to seal samples for static studies, and a constructed standard SU-8 liquid cell will consist of:

  1. Holder base
  2. Lower gasket
  3. Membrane base (with custom SU-8 spacer of desired thickness)
  4. Membrane lid (no SU-8 spacer present)
  5. Upper gasket
  6. Holder lid

The cross section of the above will look like the following:

Static cell holders are manufactured in metal (typically aluminium). These holders have a standard frame size of 10mm with a 5mm aperture in the middle, meaning the membrane size can vary from <1mm to 5mm.

See below some diagrams and photographs of our static cell holder designs:

And for those situations where the flow of liquids is a requirement, we are also able to 3D-print either 3-point or 4-point loading holders, designed for flowing liquids:

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss a custom designed liquid environment cell suitable for your applications!

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