Microscopy Suite Equipment Fees

Fees/rates for use of equipment in the Microscopy Suite determined through analysis by Government Costing, University of Illinois. In effect starting July 1, 2018; subject to change.

Glow Discharge System


Carbon-stabilized Formvar-coated TEM grids become contaminated with atmospheric hydrocarbons as the grids age, and the working surface µ the carbon-stabilized Formvar µ becomes hydrophobic. Because nanoscale TEM samples are often delivered to the grid surface in aqueous solution, it is advantageous to render that surface hydrophilic again. Glow discharge is a mild argon-plasma etch of the surface of carbon-stabilized Formvar-coated TEM grids that removes atmospheric contaminants and makes the grids hydrophilic for several days. Carbon-stabilized Formvar-coated TEM grids are placed face up on Parafilm in the base of a small plastic Petri dish that fits on the stage within the vacuum chamber of the glow-discharge system. The vacuum chamber is pumped to <20 mTorr, argon is introduced to raise the pressure to between 50 and 100 mTorr, and a relatively weak current is applied to the curved metal electrode in the chamber, above the Petri dish, creating the argon plasma that etches the hydrocarbons away from the surface of the grids. The plasma etch process can take from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.


  • Quick etch process (30 seconds to 5 minutes)

For additional information about this piece of equipment, see the Calendars, Contacts, and Fees pages.

Primary Contacts
Secondary Contacts
Manufacturer Denton Vacuum, Inc.
Equipment Model DPG-1
Location B612 - Wet Lab
Phone Numbers (217) 333-4387, (217) 265-5071


* The fee for use is added to our purchase cost for the specific precious metal (gold, gold-palladium, or platinum) expended during coating. Gold and gold-palladium are charged at $0.30/nm, and platinum is charged at $0.45/nm. The added fee is easy to determine for the dual-metal evaporator, for which total thicknesses are reported in nm. For the sputter coaters, at 65 mTorr and 40 mA, gold coats at 3 nm/10 seconds, gold-palladium coats at 1 nm/10 seconds, and platinum coats at 1 nm/10 seconds. So a standard 70-second coat of gold will cost an additional (21 x 0.30) $6.30, a 70-second coat of gold-palladium will cost (7 x 0.30) $2.10, and a 70-second coat of platinum will cost (7 x 0.45) $3.15.

**The Xradia NanoCT system requires staff setup of the sample before X-ray collection.

***The actual hourly cost for this instrument is $91.31. The Beckman Institute subsidizes the TEM at a rate of $41.31 per hour for Internal university users. Enterprise Works users are charged the full $91.31 per hour.