Novel Method for Controlled Wetting of Materials in the Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope
Journal article, 2013

Environmental scanning electron microscopy has been extensively used for studying the wetting properties of different materials. For some types of investigation, however, the traditional ways of conducting in situ dynamic wetting experiments do not offer sufficient control over the wetting process. Here, we present a novel method for controlled wetting of materials in the environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM). It offers improved control of the point of interaction between the water and the specimen and renders it more accessible for imaging. It also enables the study of water transport through a material by direct imaging. The method is based on the use of a piezo-driven nanomanipulator to bring a specimen in contact with a water reservoir in the ESEM chamber. The water reservoir is established by local condensation on a Peltier-cooled surface. A fixture was designed to make the experimental setup compatible with the standard Peltier cooling stage of the microscope. The developed technique was successfully applied to individual cellulose fibers, and the absorption and transport of water by individual cellulose fibers were imaged.

environmental scanning electron microscopy

in situ


swelling behavior

cellulose fiber





water transport


Anna Jansson

SuMo Biomaterials

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Eva Olsson Group

Alexandra Nafari

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2)

Anke Sanz-Velasco

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Electronics Material and Systems

Krister Svensson

Karlstad University

Stefan Gustafsson

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Eva Olsson Group

SuMo Biomaterials

Anne-Marie Hermansson

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Applied Surface Chemistry

SuMo Biomaterials

Eva Olsson

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Eva Olsson Group

Microscopy and Microanalysis

1431-9276 (ISSN) 1435-8115 (eISSN)

Vol. 19 1 30-37

Subject Categories

Materials Engineering



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