Fusion TEM Heating and Electrical System

Fusion heating and electrical systems transform a standard TEM or SEM into an in situ laboratory. Our new product combines heating, electrical and electrothermal analysis and uses advanced holder and E-chip technology that provide ultra-high stability and accuracy. With Fusion, you can see samples under real-world conditions at atomic resolution and produce more results in less time.

The Fusion Advantage

Fusion combines a new low-power E-chip technology with holders constructed using special alloys to dissipate heat, resulting in minimal displacement and drift during heating. Fusion’s proprietary ceramic heating technology integrates the heater and the sample support into a single thin film with temperature uniformity that exceeds 99.5%.

The fundamental challenge facing electrical experiments in the TEM or SEM is the very low current required to characterize nanoscale samples. Fusion provides single digit picoamp measurements with sensitivity into the attoamps.  With over 30 different low-parasitic electrical E-chip variations, there is a sample support for every application.

Fusion Electrothermal E-chips feature a silicon carbide heater with tungsten electrodes that enable researchers to perform heating/electrical biasing experiments at high temperatures. The full features and specifications of the Fusion heating and electrical modes are combined with a single easy-to-use software interface.

Control your experiments with powerful, intuitive Clarity software. Program electrical and/or thermal stimuli as waveforms or change parameters as you go. Observe data in real time with a visual user interface that plots your results, and use optional Reflect software to synchronize images with the heating and electrical data.

Fusion is now compatible with all Nion instruments, letting you conduct in situ heating, electrical, and electrothermal analysis within the TEM. The Fusion puck utilizes MEMS-based E’chips in addition to Nion cartridges to deliver experiment flexibility, and powerful capabilities with software and workflows to simplify your in situ experiment.

Fusion Key Features

  • Fusion E-chips

Fusion TEM
Heating and Electrical Holder
Case Study

Electric-field assisted sintering of ZrO2

Sintering is the process of forming a solid mass of material without melting the material. It often leaves voids and pores, which compromises material strength. Sintering by temperature alone occurs at high temperatures (~80% of the melting point) and can take several hours.

Electrical current is often used in addition to temperature to lower the required temperature and reduce the length of the sintering process. However, the role of this current is still largely unknown at the nanoscale.

Until recently there was not a commercially available solution that could heat and apply current to a sample within the electron microscope. Researchers in the van Benthem group at University of California Davis studied sintering mechanisms in yttria-stabilized ZrO2 (3YSZ), using TEM and STEM images to monitor the microstructural evolution of the agglomerates during densification.


When they used Protochips’ Fusion to apply 900 °C to the sample, the structure remained unchanged for 106 minutes. They then raised the temperature to 1200 °C, at which point the pores shrank.

To see the effect of electrical current, the researchers applied a field of 500V/cm and a temperature of 900 °C. After just 4 minutes, pore shrinkage and coalescence occurred, confirming the field-assisted sintering.

Featured Publications

Dynamic Observation of Phase Transformation Behaviors in Indium(III) Selenide Nanowire Based Phase Change Memory

Palladium–platinum core-shell icosahedra with substantially enhanced activity and durability towards oxygen reduction

Real-time imaging and elemental mapping of AgAu nanoparticle transformations

Surface faceting and elemental diffusion behaviour at atomic scale for alloy nanoparticles during in situ Annealing

Application Notes

Sample Prep

  • FIB Lamella

    Prepare integrated circuits, solar cells, batteries and magnetic on Thermal and Electrical E-chips using FIB methods.

  • Nanowires

    Three possible methods are detailed to transfer nanowires from their growth substrate to the thin membrane on an Fusion E-chip.

  • Particles

    Detailed instructions for the wet and dry deposition of samples on Fusion E-chips.

Learn More