Atmosphere TEM Environmental Gas Cell

The Atmosphere TEM Environmental gas cell converts nearly any TEM into a fully featured ETEM (Environmental TEM). The system creates an in situ reaction chamber inside the microscope; This enables atomic resolution at temperatures up to 1000 °C and pressures up to one atmosphere or 760 Torr. Atmosphere is a fully automated system controlled by the powerful Clarity™ software suite which makes temperature and pressure control easy and safe. The software offers both static and flowing modes so it can control dynamic environments with changing temperatures and pressures in either flowing or static gas conditions. The system is easy to use, yet powerful and flexible enough to support applications ranging from heterogeneous catalysis reactions to in situ nanomaterial synthesis and growth. Atmosphere is also safe to use in your TEM. It is the only gas cell system tested and approved by FEI and JEOL for use on their entire line of transmission electron microscopes. With both closed-loop temperature control and computer-controlled gas handling, it delivers results you can trust.

The Atmosphere TEM Environmental Gas Cell Advantage

Atmosphere provides the ability to heat samples up to 1000 °C while at pressures up to 1 atm. The exceptional stability and uniformity of our silicon carbide heating surface and ultra-thin gas layer enables atomic resolution by minimizing both scatter and thermal drift.

The design of the Atmosphere Holder enables, for the first time, true in situ EDS elemental analysis in the TEM even at high pressures. A patented, highly efficient holder design provides a large line-of-sight solid angle from the sample to the EDS detector, minimizing tilt and maximizing count rate.

The Clarity workflow software for Atmosphere provides complete control of your experiment step by step from the beginning to the end. The software allows you to easily prepare the system for use, choose gases, and set the sample temperature and pressure, all while monitoring safety and logging experimental data automatically.

The Atmosphere Key Features

Image under realistic conditions with temperatures up to 1000 °C and pressures up to 1 atm
Closed-loop temperature control for accurate temperatures even in changing pressure and gas composition
Clarity software provides automated gas handling and safety features
OEM approved for safety and compatibility

Atmosphere TEM
Environmental Gas Cell
Case Study

Novel Catalyst Structure Dynamics Captured at the Atomic Scale

Nanoparticles are a primary focus for catalysis. Their high surface-to volume-ratio maintains high catalyst activity with less material. However, nanoparticles sinter at low temperatures, which reduces surface area and activity.

Significant effort has been focused on increasing the temperature stability of nanoparticles. One method encapsulates palladium nanoparticles with ceria on silicon functionalized alumina. This material has shown excellent catalyst activity, but it was not understood why.


In situ electron microscopy using Protochips’ Atmosphere directly showed that when the material was calcined at temperatures between 500 and 800 °C, it underwent an interesting transition. Large agglomerates were created, along with very small species of palladium and ceria.

The researchers postulated that the small species are responsible for the high catalytic activity, and are stabilized by silicon. Shuyi Zhang, lead author on the study, stated that “Without in situ observation, the dynamic structural evolution is unlikely envisioned by any ex situ method, and more importantly, this finding may open new perspectives about the origin of the activity of this catalyst.”

Featured Publications

Revealing particle growth mechanisms by combining high-surface-area catalysts made with monodisperse particles and electron microscopy conducted at atmospheric pressure

Dynamic structural evolution of supported palladium–ceria core–shell catalysts revealed by in situ electron microscopy

Application Notes

  • AG70.2 – In Situ environmental study of perovskite-noble metal catalyst

    Researchers at University of Michigan are exploring promising new automotive exhaust catalyst materials, and are using Atmosphere to simulate conditions that closely match the real-world catalyst reaction environment in the TEM. These results better describe the catalyst material behavior in real-time at the atomic scale with STEM.

  • AG71.2 – In Situ Few Layer Graphene Etching Using Nanoparticles

    Graphene, a two-dimensional material with unique chemical and electrical properties is extensively studied for applications in electronics, optics and catalysis. Researchers at DSI-IPCMS-CNRS/University of Strasbourg, France, used Atmosphere to visualize the FLG etching process under relevant reaction conditions.

  • AG80.3 – Visualizing Hydrogen Absorption in Palladium Thin Films

    Palladium metal can absorb hydrogen to form the palladium hydride phase under the right conditions. Researchers working at the University of Manchester track the transition of palladium to palladium hydride and back to palladium in situ by exposing the sample to hydrogen at relevant pressures and temperatures in the TEM using Atmosphere.

  • AG81.1 – Novel Catalyst Structure Dynamics Captured at the Atomic Scale

    A group at the University of Pennsylvania developed a new nanoparticle catalyst system with exceptional activity for methane combustion. The authors show the core-shell structure was successfully synthesized via transmission electron microscopy (TEM), but a thorough analysis of the catalyst behavior over a wide temperature range was required to understand catalyst behavior under reaction conditions.

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