The potential of electrospray deposition, for the controlled preparation of particles for imaging in electron microscopes, is evaluated on various materials: from mono-modal suspensions of spherical particles to multimodal suspensions and to real-world industrial materials. It is shown that agglomeration is reduced substantially on the sample carrier, compared with conventional sample preparation techniques. For the first time, it is possible to assess the number concentration of a tri-modal polystyrene suspension by electron microscopy, due to the high deposition efficiency of the electrospray. We discovered that some suspension stabilizing surfactants form artifact particles during electrospraying. These can be avoided by optimizing the sprayed suspension.
Johannes Mielke, Pavla Dohányosová, Philipp Müller, Silvia López-Vidal and Vasile-Dan Hodoroaba