VAC - Shaping Carbon Rods with a Manual Shaping tool

Created by Karen Darley, Modified on Wed, 22 May at 1:42 PM by Kathleen Patrick

Indicator on thumb screw indicates approximately 1mm diameter.

  1. Break carbon rod about 50mm - 75mm long.
  2. Insert flat end into the hole in the base of the carbon rod sharpener.
  3. Gently push the rod up into the cutter while rotating it in a clockwise direction. Hold the carbon rod sharpener so that any carbon dust falls into a waste container.

The formed tip should range from 0.4mm to 2mm in length to give the approximate film thickness shown in the table below.

It is often helpful to use a paper or porcelain indicator near the specimen. Approximate grey scale is indicated in the last column of the table.

IF:M = mass evaporated W = mass per unit areaW=M
4o D2

D = distance to specimenW= and tt p

t = thickness (of carbon)p = density (of carbon)=V=4o D2p or 2l

r = radius of carbon rod l = length of carbon rod v = volume of carbon evaporatedM=Vp and M = or 2 1p

t=or 2.1 = r2.1

4or2 1

Using the carbon rod sharpener as set, r = 0.5mmFor convenience, D = 100mm (with added block or platform) and the following table can be used directly.

1t (approximate)Indication
0.4mm2.5nmVery light
2.0mm12.5nmVery dark

(Refer to electron microscopy textbooks by Hall, Kay, Pease and others.)

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