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Protochips Atmosphere


Protochips Atmosphere

Environmental Gas In-Situ TEM System

Convert your TEM into a full-featured Environmental TEM (ETEM). The Protochips Atmosphere creates a closed-cell in-situ reaction chamber inside your microscope, for atomic resolution in gas at temperatures up to 1000 °C and pressures from 1 Torr up to 1 atmosphere (760 Torr).

Atmosphere is compatible with virtually any TEM, and is the only gas cell system approved by FEI and JEOL for their entire range of transmission electron microscopes.

High Temperature and Pressure

  • Heat samples up to 1000°C at pressures up to 1 atm.
  • Dynamic environments:
    • Changing temperatures and pressures
    • Flowing / static gas conditions
  • Chemically inert heating surface for catalyst reactions.
  • Extremely stable, uniform heating and ultra-thin gas layer.
  • Atomic resolution with minimal scatter and thermal drift.
  • Closed-loop temperature control.

EDS Elemental Analysis in Gas

  • True in-situ EDS elemental analysis in the TEM for the first time.
  • EDS at high temperatures.
  • Patented holder design for a wide line-of-sight solid angle from sample to EDS detector, reducing tilt and maximising count rate.

Complete Control

  • Complete step by step control of your experiment.
  • Software-controlled flow rate, composition and pressure.
  • Any composition of 3 gases or vapours.
  • Automatic safety monitoring and data logging.
  • Integrated Residual Gas Analyser available.

Contact us for more information and quotes:
01223 422 269 or

Protochips Atmosphere

The ability to image nanomaterial synthesis and degradation in real time under realistic environmental conditions is revealing highly unexpected phenomena. The elemental mapping capability of our Atmosphere system is allowing us to separate the different behavior of different components within complex systems and to observe preferential loss of certain components from compound nanosheets.
Dr. Sara Haigh, Materials Science Department, University of Mancheste


  • Materials science
  • Catalysis – more info
  • Nanomaterials
  • Thin films
  • Corrosion
  • …and more


  • Atomic resolution at high temperatures and pressures
  • Study samples in any mixture of 3 gases/vapours
  • EDS elemental analysis in gas
  • Closed-loop temperature control

Protochips Atmosphere Gas Cell for TEM

Fe Nanoparticle Etching Graphene at 900°C and 600 Torr H2

Commercial Catalysts

1 hour recorded webinar featuring results from pioneering researchers in in-situ environmental electron microscopy.

More about the Protochips Atmosphere Catalysis Solution

Chemistry in the TEM: Catalyst Research

1 hour recorded webinar about observing the oxidation and reduction of heterogeneous catalysts.

Application Notes

  • Perovskite-Noble Metal Catalyst – In Situ Environmental Study
    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 behaviour in real-time at the atomic scale with STEM.
  • Few Layer Graphene – In Situ Etching with Nanoparticles
    Imaging FLG etching under relevant reaction conditions at DSI-IPCMS-CNRS/University of Strasbourg, France.
  • Hydrogen Absorption in Palladium Thin Films
    Under certain conditions, palladium metal absorbs hydrogen to form palladium hydride. Researchers at the University of Manchester tracked the transition between phases in situ at relevant pressures and temperatures.
  • Catalyst Structure Dynamics
    A new nanoparticle catalyst system was developed at the University of Pennsylvania, with outstanding reactivity in relation to methane combustion. The core shell structure was synthesised via TEM and analysed at various temperatures to study catalyst behaviour.
  • Environmental Analysis
    How gases are mixed with volumetric blending for perfect homogeneity in just 5 minutes. Controlling flow and pressure, and how to analyse reaction by-products by adding a Residual Gas Analyser.


Case Study: Catalyst Structure Dynamics

Nanoparticles are important in catalysis, because of their high surface to volume ratio, which means there is higher catalyst activity from less material. However, nanoparticles can sinter at low temperatures, reducing surface area and activity. It’s therefore important to improve their temperature stability.

One method encapsulates palladium nanoparticles with ceria on silicon functionalised alumina. This displayed excellent catalyst activity, but it was not fully understood why.

Nanoparticles - Protochips Atmosphere

Using in situ electron microscopy and the Atmosphere, it was found that when the material was calcined at temperatures around 500 – 800 °C, there was an unusual transition. Large agglomerates formed, along with very small species of palladium and ceria.

These small species were believed to be responsible for the high catalytic activity, and were stabilised by silicon.

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.
Shuyi Zhang, lead author on the study

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