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As sample preparation is so critical, it make sense to store your samples so that you do not need to repolish them. A suitable place to store samples is in a desiccator, or at the very least in a clean room in appropriate containers or drawers. SO THAT:

  • The sample surface does not accumulate dust or other particles
  • The sample surface is not scratched or subjected to further deformation
  • The sample does not acquire an oxide layer (on some materials this may be impossible, such as Magnesium, and a quick re-polish will be needed before further analyses)
  • The sample does not acquire moisture. This is especially relevant for materials such as halite, iron etc that are very sensitive to moisture
  • The sample is kept at a cool temperature. Note that even room temperature may cause recrystallisation over a long time in many metals.
  • If you need to move samples, avoid contact with the surface and use suitable sample containers

Tip on cleaning dirt from samples

  • Replication (acetate) sheet for making TEM replicas are useful to lift loose dust and particles of sample surface
  • Place some acetone on the sample and lay a piece of acetate sheet
  • Allow to dry
  • Lift of sheet when you require to examine the sample
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