Introduction features state-of-the-art transmission electron microscopy windows that enable researchers to characterize their cutting-edge nanomaterials. By incorporating the latest MEMS and thin film technologies, provides researchers with the resources to advance their research and development programs. is a division of SiMPore Inc. and supplies SiMPore’s UltraSM® membrane technology for TEM and related applications. is fully integrated with, and supported by, the technical expertise at SiMPore.

Pure Silicon UltraSM® TEMwindows


The unique combination of enabling features and benefits ,

  • Nanometer Thinness: thinner than the thinnest available carbon grids
  • Plasma Cleanable: unlike carbon grids, can vigorously plasma clean to remove organic contamination
  • Uniformity: reduced field-to-field variability
  • Reduced Chromatic Blur: half the chromatic blur of carbon grids
  • Nanometer-Scale Pores: allow stable suspension of nanoscale materials for imaging without background
  • Silicon Composition: sputter-deposited, pure, intrinsic silicon
  • Increased Stability: at high beam currents and high annealing temperatures
  • Minimal Background Signal: enables elemental analyses of samples containing nitrogen and/or carbon offers Pure Silicon UltraSM® in nine square windows and two slot format. The 200µm grid thickness will have the option of 15nm(porous & non-porous) , 9nm and 5nm film thickness.  Similarly, non-porous 5nm, 9nm & 15nm films thickness are available for 100µm grid thickness.

Pure Silicon UltraSM® Features and Benefits

UltraSM® Silicon TEM Windows offer a truly unique combination of enabling features and benefits. 

Nanometer Thinness: UltraSM TEM Windows feature imaging windows with 5 to 15 nm thickness, reducing background contribution and interference for higher contrast imaging. Most impressively, 5 nm thick Non-Porous UltraSM Silicon TEM Windows are thinner than the thinnest commercially available amorphous carbon membranes.



Plasma Cleanable: Unlike traditional carbon grids, samples prepared on UltraSM TEM Windows can be vigorously plasma cleaned to remove organic contamination and to improve image quality.


Uniformity: Non-Porous UltraSM TEM Windows are more consistently thin than carbon grids, reducing field-to-field variability. (Note: Porous UltraSM windows do have inherent crystalline features, but feature background-free nanometer-scale pores).



Reduced Chromatic Blur: In comparison to the thinnest commercially available amorphous carbon membranes, 5 nm Non-Porous UltraSM Silicon TEM Windows yield half the chromatic blur. This dramatic difference results from a two-fold reduction in inelastic scattering of electrons passing through the thinner membranes of UltraSM Silicon TEM Windows. In turn, the reduced chromatic blur offers a potential two-fold improvement in imaging resolution.


Nanometer-Scale Pores: UltraSM TEM Windows are available as porous films with pores ranging from 10 to 50 nm in diameter. The pores allow simple and stable suspension of nanoscale materials for imaging without intervening background.


Silicon Composition: The elemental silicon composition of UltraSM TEM Windows remarkably increases stability at high beam currents and at high annealing temperatures. The pure silicon composition also introduces a minimal background signal, making elemental analyses of sample containing nitrogen and/or carbon possible by EDX and EELS.


Isolated Poly-Crystallinity: The poly-crystalline nature of porous UltraSM TEM Windows offers an internal calibration standard for x-ray diffraction studies. The isolated crystalline features also provides a convenient and reliable scale for high-resolution size measurements, well-characterized crystal lattice of silicon.


Hydrophilicity: The hydrophilicity of both non-porous and porous UltraSM TEM Windows is tunable by plasma and/or ozone treatment making sample preparation easier, particularly for samples in aqueous solutions.


Product Specifications:



Frame size
2.9 mm octagon (corner-to-corner)

Frame thickness and composition
100 or 200 micron thick silicon

Window type
SiMPore’s UltraSM silicon membrane technology

Window thickness
5, 9 or 15 nm

Window geometry
Nine (9) 100 x 100 micron squares <or>
Two (2) 100 x 1500 micron slots

Pore diameter
~ 40 to 50 nm maximal pore diameter (applies only to porous windows)

~ 5% porosity



Note: Non-Porous films are lightly wrinkled with approximately 5 microns or less deflection across 100 microns of travel. This is typically not problematic for high-resolution imaging. Additionally, porous films may contain a ~10 micron pinhole in a particular window that can be useful for beam alignment and does not reduce the robustness of the film. 



Silicon Oxide TEM window Grids

  • Tolerate elevated temperatures, up to 1000°C, supporting use in environmental TEMs where dynamic processes are observed at high temperatures
  • Withstand harsh deposition conditions of relatively stressed films as well as harsh chemical conditions
  • Incorporate sputter-deposited, stoichiometric silicon dioxide
  • Offer the ability to analyze for nitrogen by EDX techniques offers Silicon Oxide in nine square window and two slot formats. Silicon Oxide films are available with 20 or 40 nm thick membranes.

Silicon Nitride TEM window Grid

  • Tolerate elevated temperatures, up to 1000C, supporting use in environmental TEMs where dynamic processes are observed at high temperatures
  • Withstand harsh deposition conditions as well as harsh chemical conditions, providing an ideal balance of imaging resolution and mechanical strength
  • Incorporate LPCVD, low-stress (~250 MPa), non-stoichoimetric silicon nitride, providing flat, insulating and hydrophobic surfaces
  • Offer the ability to analyze for oxygen by EDX techniques

 sin-grids offers Silicon Nitride in a variety of square window sizes in addition to our classic two slot format. Silicon Nitride films are available with 20 or 50 nm thickness.




If you are looking for TEM window grids for high-resolution imaging of nanoparticles or nanotubes, we would recommend the following TEM Windows:

  • Non-porous 5 nm thick UltraSM® TEM Windows are the thinnest imaging, plasma cleanable substrate we offer and have less chromatic blur than even ultrathin carbon.
  • Non-porous 9 nm thick UltraSM® TEM Windows are more robust than the 5 nm films and are suitable for sample preparation procedures that might include several wet-dry steps. For truly rugged substrates see our films for deposition below
  • Porous 15 nm thick UltraSM® TEMwindows have 10-50 nm diameter nanopores to suspended material across for truly background-free imaging



If you need a robust substrate on which to deposit films or grow nanoparticles or nanowires, we recommend the following TEM Windows:

  • Non-porous 15 nm thick UltraSM TEM Windows are our most robust pure silicon films. These amorphous films offer plasma cleanability, tunable surface hydrophobicity and the ability to analyze for nitrogen, oxygen and carbon without background signals.
  • Porous 15 nm thick UltraSM TEM Windows are just like the films listed above, but have numerous 10-50 nm diameter pores to suspend nanomaterials for imaging or growth. The polycrystaline structure provides an internal sizing and diffraction pattern calibration standard as well.
  • Silicon Nitride 20 & 50 nm thick TEM Windows are our most robust, flat and hydrophilic substrates for demanding sample preparation procedures.
  • Silicon Oxide 20 & 40 nm thick TEM windows offer an ideal surface for high-temperature nanomaterial growth of specimens.



·         The UltraSM® silicon membrane provides a first-in-class combination of imaging and cell growth abilities for optical and electron microscopy.  This ultrathin membrane permits imaging of cells by either light, fluorescent or electron microscopic methods.  The millions of nanopores within the membranes allow two cell types on either side of the membrane to communicate with one another.  The cells can be physically separated and imaged by optical means due to the excellent optical characteristics of the UltraSM® membrane.  Together, these properties make the UltraSM® silicon membrane an ideal substrate for growth and imaging of single or multiple cell-type cultures.



Window Geometry Schematics


Choosing the right TEMwindows grid


Custom Services

Custom Services team of engineers has the capability to develop and fabricate custom TEM grids and other suspended-membrane chips to meet your unique specifications. 

Capabilities Include:

  • 100 - 400 micron thick silicon frames
  • Frame geometries from standard 2.9 mm TEM grids to 5 x 5 mm chips (and larger)
  • Windows of 0.025 - 2.5 mm, depending on membrane types
  • Membranes of pure silicon, silicon nitride, or silicon oxide from 5 - 200 nm thick
  • Metal films and patterns on membranes

Micrometer-sized, etched features within membranes



Recent examples include:

2.9 mm TEM Grids with 30 nm silicon nitride membranes and 25 micron and 50 micron square windows - produced for the Riken Research Institute in Japan

5 x 5 mm chips with 125 nm sputtered silicon oxide membranes on 1 x 2.5 mm openings - produced for the Max-Planck Institute in Germany



Please contact if you have any specialized grid requirements,we will be happy to work with the manufacturer to provide feedback on potential solutions.