MEMS Technology News & Events

Norcada launches microporous SiNx membranes for microscopy

January 11, 2012

Norcada announced today the launch of their two newest microporous Silicon Nitride TEM windows to the microscopy and microanalysis communities. These Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) sample holders have a mesh structure with 2µm diameter holes and 3µm distance, and their uniform high quality silicon nitride film is available in 50nm and 200nm thicknesses. These devices perform excellently in high beam intensity TEMs, SEMs and STXM.

While these products have been only available for a few weeks at, they have been proven to perform well in complex scientific applications. Dr. Anna Butterworth from the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California spoke to the performance and capabilities of the Norcada meshy silicon nitride membrane:

“We have been very pleased with the strength of the mesh membrane. The microporous TEM membranes easily withstand manipulation of small particles with a single-hair paintbrush. We also found the meshy membrane to be very uniform, as imaged by a synchrotron x-ray beam, which is critical for the thin film measurements. In fact we have been looking for this kind of product for some time.”

Norcada micro-porous TEM membrane films offer users the advantage of a supportive platform for overhanging samples across the 2um holes. A string-shaped material or a micron-sized sample can be placed or grown across the holes, allowing for a no thin film background for the microscopy image.

Dr. Butterworth added that “We are using the holey silicon nitride membranes for a project involving measurements of atomic layer deposition (ALD) thin film samples using transmission x-ray spectroscopy. The holey membrane is ideal for nm-resolution work in TEM and STXM”.

Norcada microporous TEM membranes are manufactured to fit any commercial TEM sample holder, and are inspected and packaged in a Class 100 (ISO-4-5) Cleanroom. For more information and to order holey TEM windows, please contact Norcada Inc. (

Norcada specializes in the development and manufacturing of MEMS devices ( and semiconductor DFB lasers ( for a wide range of industrial and scientific applications.

Founded in 2002, Norcada has a state-of-the-art MEMS and photonics fabrication facility in Edmonton, Alberta, home to a major nanotechnology cluster in Canada.