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Electron Microscopy Sciences

Silicone Nitride Mesh and Films

arrow13DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh for TEM DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh for TEM Downloadable PDF

DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products have revolutionized the way samples are prepared for and analyzed in the transmission electron microscope.

DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products are affordably-priced, durable, nonorganic, low scatter support grids for quantitative TEM and X-ray analysis. DuraSiN™ products are made of a thin, high quality, low-stress silicon nitride membrane supported around its perimeter by a rigid silicon substrate.

Unlike other support films and grids, DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products can withstand harsh chemical and temperature environments. For example, DuraSiN™ Film or Mesh products could be used as a substrate onto which nanowires could be directly grown from a strong acidic solution. Once the nanowires are grown, the specimen is immediately ready for imaging and analysis in the TEM. With direct deposition, no longer will you have to prepare a sample on one substrate only to then have to transfer it to a support grid for imaging.


DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products are affordably-priced, durable, non-organic, low scatter support grids for quantitative TEM and X-ray analysis. When seeking the highest possible resolution, DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products provide the ideal platform for imaging and analysis.

DuraSiN™ Film

The DuraSiN™ Film support grids are composed of two materials. The area for specimen observation is fabricated from chemically robust, low-stress, planar silicon nitride films and this area is supported by a rigid silicon frame where the frame thickness available for these products ranges from 200 - 300 microns. The DuraSiN™ Film support grids provide a cost-effective and durable platform for sample preparation, cleaning, imaging and analysis.

Perfect for the analysis of colloids, powders, aerosols and polymers. The DuraSiN™ Film provides durable, non-organic, low scatter substrates for quantitative TEM and X-ray analysis at affordable prices. DuraSiN™ Film substrates are fabricated from high quality, low-stress silicon nitride and supported on a rigid silicon substrate. DuraSiN™ Film products are robust to most cleaning procedures, including acetone, alcohol and oxygen plasma/UV ozone. Products are available in sizes ranging from standard TEM (2.65mm diameter) to greater than 5mm for x-ray applications.

DuraSiN™ Mesh

DuraSiN™ Mesh support grids are also fabricated from chemically robust, low-stress, planar silicon nitride films and are supported by a rigid silicon frame. However, DuraSiN™ Mesh has a regular array of small, dense holes fabricated across the observation area thereby providing truly electronbeam transparent regions for specimen imaging and analysis. DuraSiN™ Mesh support substrates offer the unique combination of an inorganic support film and regions completely transparent to an electron beam.

These two features provide the microscopist and micro-analyst with unparalleled capability for imaging and analysis. Like other holey or lacey support films, DuraSiN™ Mesh support substrates provide regions completely unobstructed by the support film. However, the fact that the DuraSiN™ Mesh is made from inorganic silicon nitride provides the ability to thoroughly clean (e.g. with an aggressive oxygen plasma) a specimen already fixed to the support substrate and to assure that the imaging and analysis is done only upon on the specimen rather than unintended contamination. For example, when analyzing carbon nanotubes, DuraSiN™ provides a clean, carbon-free support to isolate the specimen from carbon contamination.

Features & Advantages

Top 10 Reasons to Use DuraSiNTM Film and Mesh Products

1. DuraSiNTM products are affordable

Since they are sold in sold in single grid quantities and in multi-grid packs, customers can try several different products at an affordable cost to optimize sample preparation and imaging conditions

2. DuraSiNTM products allow multiple microscopy techniques to be performed on the same specimen

The mechanical stability of DuraSiNTM products allow direct deposition and growth of specimens and are strong enough to allow AFM directly on the membrane giving microscopists the ability to analyze both internal structure and surface detail in the exact same viewing area

3. DuraSiNTM products are robust to solvents, bases and acids

Samples grown under strong acidic or basic conditions can be grown, deposited or synthesized directly onto a DuraSiNTM Film or Mesh

4. DuraSiNTM products can withstand high temperatures (up to 1000°C)

Samples grown or deposited directly onto DuraSiNTM can be annealed or cured at elevated temperatures while mounted to a support grid

5. DuraSiNTM products are robust to glow discharge high energy plasma cleaning

Glow discharge can be used to modify the surface of DuraSiNTM products and high energy plasmas can be used to aggressively remove any organic residuals from the sample preparation process

6. DuraSiNTM has an ultra-flat surface

Reduce both specimen preparation time and imaging artifacts introduced by other non-planar support grids

7. DuraSiNTM provides a large viewing area free of grid bars

Examine specimens through large tilt angles without losing data from grid bars

8. DuraSiNTM can be produced with extended functionality integrated onto the support film In-situ characterization is possible with advanced features such as integrated electrodes

9. DuraSiNTM Mesh products provide a regular array of micron-scale holes

The regular array of micron-scale holes available only with DuraSiNTM Mesh enables the highest resolution possible for nanowires, carbon nanotubes, fibers, powders and colloids

10. DuraSiNTM can be manufactured with fully customizable frame & window dimensions, hole patterns and membrane thickness

The DuraSiNTM product family offers the maximum flexibility to meet specific customer needs

DuraSiN™ Films and Mesh products are chemically and mechanically robust support films for X-ray and TEM microscopy and they are available at more affordable prices than any other product in their class. DuraSiN™ offers unparalleled advantages over the traditional carbon-based support grids. If your research involves materials that are grown or deposited in harsh environments, DuraSiN™ may be the perfect support film for you. Capable of withstanding virtually any acid, base or solvent, DuraSiN™ allows the deposition or growth of colloids, fibers, nanoparticles, powders, polymers or wires directly onto the support film itself. Its temperature stability up to 1000°C even allows direct deposition using standard physical and vapor deposition techniques common in the semiconductor industry, including CVD, sputtering, e-beam and resistive evaporation. With direct deposition or growth onto DuraSiN™, any ambiguity introduced from sample transfer to a less robust support film is eliminated. The temperature stability of DuraSiN™ also allows the observation of dynamic processes when several samples are removed for analysis at various times in the deposition, growth or anneal process.

The mechanical stability of DuraSiN™ offers a support film that is ideal for multi-analysis, in particular, TEM or X-ray and AFM. DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products are not only robust enough to allow direct deposition and growth, but are also strong enough to allow AFM directly on the membrane, giving microscopists the ability to analyze both internal structure and surface detail in the exact same viewing area. In addition, DuraSiN™'s mechanical strength offers wide area membranes without the need for underlying grid bars eliminating the unwanted roughness, contamination or obstruction of other support grids.

Where cleanliness is a concern, particularly for compositional analysis using EDAX, etc., DuraSiN™ can be vigorously cleaned using processes previously not possible with carbon-based supports. DuraSiN™ can be cleaned in sulfuric acid to remove organics, as well as glow-discharge and high-energy oxygen plasma. Using these techniques, a pristine, carbon-free surface can be obtained for subsequent specimen deposition or growth and analysis.

DuraSiN™ is available in both continuous films and patterned meshes, in a variety of shapes and sizes, many customizable. DuraSiN™ Mesh is the only support available with hole sizes down to 1 micron in diameter, allowing the observation of the shortest fibers or wires. It is the highest quality, most affordable product in its class.


DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products are robust over extreme temperatures and in harsh chemical environments making them an ideal choice for many applications

1. Quantitative analysis of carbon containing specimens

--DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh provide a carbon-free support allowing more accurate compositional analysis of carbon-containing compounds

-- The continuous, ultra-planar surface of DuraSiN™ Film is ideal for the deposition of polymers allowing the nanostructure of ordered polymer layers to be quantified

2. Chemical deposition and growth

-- Surface modification of DuraSiN™ Film or Mesh silicon nitride membranes allows attachment and analysis of target materials

-- Liquid samples can be dried on and supported by DuraSiN™ Film

-- The large, regular array of holes for imaging on DuraSiN™ Mesh provides numerous electron-transparent analysis sites

3. Nanoparticle analysis

-- Fine powders can be deposited and imaged over the electron-transparent holes of DuraSiN™ Mesh

-- Atomized nanoparticles can be deposited and imaged at near-atomic resolution on continuous DuraSiN™ Film

4. Chemical reactions

-- The impact of particle size & separation can be quantified with DuraSiN™

-- Oxidation and reduction reactions can be observed in-situ or ex-situ with DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh

5. New material discovery

-- Multiple analysis techniques (e.g. TEM, STEM, XRAY, SEM, XPS, AES and AFM) can all be performed on the same specimen when it is supported by DuraSiN™Film or Mesh

DuraSiN™ Film

DuraSiN™ Film products are specifically designed to give TEM/STEM and X-ray microscopists a support film that can withstand virtually any environment needed to grow or deposit a specimen. If your specimen requires exposure to high temperatures, acids, bases and/or solvents, consider growing them directly on DuraSiN™ Film - samples will not need to be transferred to another support for imaging and the presence of imaging artifacts introduced by specimen preparation can be virtually eliminated. Self-assembled monolayers can be formed on a DuraSiN™ Film membrane for subsequent attachment of nanoparticles.

Perfect for the analysis of colloids, powders, aerosols and polymers. The DuraSiN™ Film products provide a durable, non-organic, low scatter substrate for TEM and X-ray analysis at affordable prices. Sandwich them together and form a closed environment for wet cell applications. Our films are even robust enough to allow multianalysis, including AFM and TEM using the same grid.

DuraSiN™ Mesh

DuraSiN™ Mesh products are a completely novel product, offering all the advantages of the Film products but with the benefit of having completely electron transparent regions (holes) in the film. Holes are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, down to even submicron features.

DuraSiN™ support films are ideal for multianalysis of samples, including fibers, colloids, nanowires and powders. The rigid silicon frame provides an area for AFM analysis, just microns from the transparent window regions for TEM,STEM and X-ray. Remove the experimental ambiguity of analyzing different specimens when combining microscopy techniques. A specimen can be deposited or grown directly on DuraSiN™ Films and then a single specimen can be analyzed with TEM, STEM, AFM and X-ray. Depending upon the DuraSiN™ window thickness and AFM stylus force, some users have even been able to AFM their specimen directly on the membrane itself.

Product Line

Based upon low-Z, inert silicon nitride, the DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products are specifically designed to give TEM/STEM and X-ray microscopists a support film that can withstand virtually any environment needed to grow, deposit and/or image a specimen. DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products are ideal if your specimen requires exposure to high temperatures, acids, bases and/or solvents. If your samples are grown in these conditions, consider synthesizing them directly on support films to prevent transferring to another support for imaging.

DuraSiN™ Film products are fully specified by 4 parameters: window size, frame thickness, film thickness and frame size. DuraSiN™ Mesh products require two additional parameters: hole size and center-center hole pitch. There are several standard and immediately available DuraSiN™ products specifically designed for TEM and X-ray applications as outlined below. Of course given their mechanical durability and robustness to temperature and chemicals , all of the DuraSiN™ products make ideal substrates for performing and then correlating the results from multiple microscopy techniques all on the same specimen.

DuraSiN™ Film for TEM

Description DTF-
Film Thickness 50nm 100nm 200nm 30nm 30nm 50nm
Window Area 0.5mm 0.5mm 0.5mm 0.5mm 0.05mm 0.05mm
Frame Diameter 2.65mm 2.65mm 2.65mm ~3mm ~3mm ~3mm
Frame Thickness 300µm 300µm 300µm 300µm 300µm 300µm

DuraSiN™ Mesh for TEM

Description DTM-25231 DTM-25233
Film Thickness 200nm 200nm
Window Area 0.5mm 0.5mm
Frame Diameter 2.65mm 2.65mm
Frame Thickness 300µm 300µm
Hole Size 2µm 2µm
Hole Pitch 12µm 4µm


We realize that each customer has unique needs. Because specimens vary greatly in composition and size, and because DuraSiN™ finds use in numerous analytical and imaging techniques, there is no "ideal" product shape and size. To meet the diverse and demanding needs of the research community, DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products were designed to facilitate customization and meet a user's specific requirements. For example, X-ray microscopists may be interested in DuraSiN™ products with a larger window area and with a thicker silicon nitride membrane. Users with microscopes that have a unique sample support fixturing may be interested in DuraSiN™ products with a larger frame diameter. Finally, for the most demanding applications, ultra-thin silicon nitride membranes (<50nm) may be required.

DuraSiN™ products can be customized to target a specific silicon nitride membrane thickness, silicon frame thickness, window area, and/or frame area. Most custom dimensional changes can be accommodated in only 3-4 weeks, and most other custom requests can be completed within 4-6 weeks. Please note that customized products may be more expensive, and minimum quantities may apply.

While almost any parameter defining the structure of DuraSiN™ products can be customized, there are ranges for these parameters that generally need to be considered:

Description Film for TEM Mesh for TEM Film for X-ray
Film Thickness 30nm - 200nm 30nm - 200nm 100nm - 200nm
Window Area 0.2mm - 0.7mm 0.2mm - 0.7mm 0.5mm - 10mm
Frame Diameter 2.65mm 2.65mm 2.65mm - 15mm
Frame Thickness 200µm - 600µm 200µm - 600µm 200µm - 600µm
Hole Size N/A >0.8µm N/A
Hole Pitch N/A depends on hole size and shape N/A

Membrane Thickness

Standard DuraSiN™ products are available with 50nm, 100nm, and 200nm silicon nitride membrane thickness. Custom membranes can be manufactured with silicon nitride film thickness ranging from 20nm up to several microns thick. Typically, very thin windows (<50nm) are compatible with small window area while thicker windows can be used with any window area, including large area windows. It should be noted that extremely thin windows must be handled very carefully due to their fragile nature.

Window Area

Standard DuraSiN™ products have square windows are available with edge length ranging from 500µm to 5mm. Custom window areas can be manufactured with window area ranging from µm to mm. The maximum window area is a function of the membrane thickness, and larger windows can produced from thicker nitride. Very small windows can also be manufactured, but, due to process constraints, these small windows may exhibit a larger window size variation among samples, for example 50µ +/- 20µm. Rectangular windows (sometimes known as "slot grids") with custom dimensions can also be produced.

Frame Diameter

Standard DuraSiN™ products have frame diameter ranging from 2.65mm to 10mm. Custom frame diameters can be manufactured with frame diameter ranging from 2.65mm to 10mm. Typically, larger window areas require a larger frame diameter. The minimum frame diameter than can be produced is the TEM size (2.65mm), presently offered through EMS along with 5mm and 10mm frame sizes. However, any size between 2.65mm and 15mm can be custom ordered.

Product Comparisons

DuraSiN™ vs. copper, molybdenum, formvar and carbon TEM grids

DuraSiN™ silicon nitride membranes are the “high-tech” alternative to standard metal TEM grids. Using the tools and techniques of semiconductor manufacturing, DuraSiN™ is created as a silicon nitride membrane supported by a silicon frame. Samples deposited on to the membrane can be imaged using TEM, X-ray, STEM, SEM and other techniques. Compared to standard TEM grids, DuraSiN™ offers the user several advantages. DuraSiN™ membranes are extremely thin – from 200nm down to 50nm and thinner. DuraSiN™ products are extremely planar. DuraSiN™ products are resistant to acids, bases, solvents, and plasma cleaning.

DuraSiN™ products can withstand a wide temperature range. These attributes are critical in a variety of applications. The planarity and strength of the silicon nitride membrane allows the user to perform multi-analysis (i.e. the use of several complementary microscopy and analytical techniques on the same sample, for example AFM/TEM or SEM/ TEM). DuraSiN™ silicon nitride membranes also allow imaging of wet samples via SEM/TEM/XRM by placing the sample between two membranes (this configuration is commonly known as a “wet cell”). Since silicon nitride can withstand acids, bases, solvents and high temperatures, DuraSiN™ membrane supports can be used to image a wide variety of reactions on the membrane surface in-situ. In short, DuraSiN™ allows the user to obtain high quality images in ways that are impossible with standard TEM grids.

Property DuraSiN™ silicon nitride support films Copper TEM Grids Molybdenum TEM Grids Formvar/Carbon coated TEM grids
enables AFM and TEM on the same region of specimen __ __ __
robust to glow discharge & high energy plasma cleaning __
robust to solvents, bases and acids __
robust to high temperatures (up to 1000°C) __ __
ultra-flat __ __ __
capable of integrated functionality directly on support film __ __ __
sold in single grid quantities __ __ __
fully customizable frame and window dimension, hole patterns and membrane thickness __ __ __

DuraSiN™ vs. competing silicon nitride TEM grids

DuraSiN™ silicon nitride membranes have properties similar to silicon nitride sample supports offered by other companies. Both products are offered in standard form factors, are based on low-stress silicon nitride membrane technology, and have similar chemical resistance/temperature properties. DuraSiN™, however, offer customers two key differences.

DuraSiN™ is available through EMS in quantities as small as a single grid – this enables users to sample a variety of grids at reasonable cost without the constraint of large minimum orders. More importantly, the availability of single grid packs allows customers to quickly and inexpensively determine which product is ideal for their particular application.

DuraSiN™ products also offer the customer the highest level of customization. Frame size, window size, and nitride thickness can all be adjusted to meet specific research needs using a set of proprietary manufacturing techniques. Moreover, since DuraSiN™ is designed and manufactured in the United States, we can provide customization of all products faster than the competition, whose products are manufactured elsewhere. This flexibility and rapid response makes DuraSiN™ the ideal choice for silicon nitride membrane supports.

Technical Data

Surface Roughness Surface roughness AFM data for 100nm thick DuraSiN™ films is shown below. The data was acquired from a 5µm scan across the surface. The average surface roughness in the boxed area (ignoring the dust particle to the left) is 3.39 angstroms. Although some variation is expected from device to device, DuraSiN™ 100 and 200nm films typically have an average surface roughness in the 3.0-angstrom range.

DuraSiN™ products with 50nm films typically have a slightly larger average roughness than the 100nm and 200nm films. As determined by AFM, the 50nm DuraSiN™ films typically exhibit average surface roughness of about 1.2nm.

Surface Flatness

Flatness is a measure of how warped or bowed the surface is. As measured though a 20X DI microscope objective, the images do not demonstrate any measurable deformations. The regions around the 2-micron holes are completely flat, without any lip or curl around the edge of the hole allowing specimens to lay flat across the holes. The image of the film also does not show any deformations. As a reference, the pieces of dust viewable in the image stands out because of the difference in surface height with respect to the film.

Surface Roughness

DuraSiN™ (100nm thick) AFM data

Surface Flatness

DuraSiN™ Mesh image taken though a DI 20x objective, white light source

Solvent and Acid Robustness

DuraSiN™ Films and Meshes are robust to most solvent and acid treatments, and can be cleaned with virtually any process required by your specimen preparation protocol. Solvents such as methanol, ethanol and acetone have no effect on the film. Acids, including sulfuric and nitric, also do not affect the film. Other common cleaning procedures such as the J.T. Baker solution and RCA cleaning are also acceptable.

Plasma and Glow Discharge Robustness

DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh products are made from silicon nitride and are extremely robust to glow discharge cleaning and high-energy oxygen plasma. This is particularly useful when there is a need to completely remove organic residues that could either affect the image quality or EDAX measurements. The products have been exposed to high-energy, 300W oxygen plasma systems typically used for removing up to microns of photoresist in the semiconductor industry, and no etching was observed in spectroscopic thickness measurements. In addition, no degradation was observed when inspected through a high-power optical microscope.

Electron Transparency

Monte Carlo simulations on models of 100nm thick DuraSiN™ films, under the presence of a 120 and 200keV electron beam and probe size of 1 angstrom show almost zero electron scattering even after 10,000 trajectories are simulated. With standard available thicknesses from 50nm to 200nm and because of the amorphous structure of the film, atomic-scale resolution has been obtained with DuraSiN™ products, depending on the exact specimens under evaluation.

Chemical Robustness

The only acids which might adversely affect the films are 49% hydrofluoric acid when exposed for several minutes, or phosphoric acid when heated to temperatures greater than 150°C. The need for these chemicals at these conditions is generally quite rare.

Because the films are in the nanometer thickness range, it is also not recommended that the grids be exposed to an ultrasonic bath. Cleaning for 30 minutes in concentrated sulfuric acid will generally remove organics and dust particles. Sometimes a final treatment in oxygen plasma or glow discharge is also applied.

Temperature Robustness

DuraSiN™ has been tested to temperatures near 500°C in ambient, and near 800oC in vacuum. No degradation, warping or bowing was observed using a 20X DI microscope objective. DuraSiN™ is expected to be stable at temperatures up to 1000°C, which make the grids well suited for high temperature deposition steps.

holey carbon DuraSiN™ Film and Mesh for TEM Ordering Information

DuraSiN™ Film for TEM
Description DTF-05523 DTF-2523
Film Thickness 50nm 200nm
Window Area 0.5mm 0.5mm
Frame Diameter ~3mm ~3mm
Frame Thickness 300µm 300µm
Price (5 pack) 111.00 85.00
  Add to Cart Add to Cart
Price (10 pack) 190.00 130.00
  Add to Cart Add to Cart
Description DTF-03523 DTF-050523 DTF-030523
Film Thickness 30nm 50nm 30nm
Window Area 0.5mm 0.05mm 0.05mm
Frame Diameter ~3mm ~3mm ~3mm
Frame Thickness 300µm 300µm 300µm
Price (5 pack) 145.00 189.00 189.00
  Add to Cart Add to Cart Add to Cart
Price (10 pack) 252.50 320.00 320.00
  Add to Cart Add to Cart Add to Cart
DuraSiN™ Mesh for TEM
Description DTM-25231
Film Thickness 200nm
Window Area 0.5mm
Frame Diameter 2.65mm
Frame Thickness 300µm
Hole Size 2µm
Hole Pitch 12µm
Price (5 pack) 142.50
  Add to Cart
Price (10 pack) 275.00
  Add to Cart

DuraSiN™ is a trademark of Protochips, Inc. All rights reserved.

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