Reducing Vibration from Mechanical Equipment in an Electron Microscopy Lab


Reducing Vibration from Mechanical Equipment in an Electron Microscopy Lab : Laboratories are with vibrating equipments that causes disturbances on electron microscope images.  These sources include chillers, vacuum pumps, transformers, etc..  At VEC, this is a problem that we commonly see in our clients' laboratories.  Following some basic guidelines can help reduce the impact of vibration on image quality.

Guidelines to Reduce Vibration from Mechanical Equipment:

  • Place all mechanical equipment in a mechanical core outside the microscope laboratory whenever possible. This provides separation between the vibration source and the microscope and often helps reduce the acoustic noise level.
  • All rotating motors, air chillers, transformers, and pumps need to be place on the proper damping material. The proper setup for pump installation consists of a plastic pan to catch the oil and a set of 5-10 Hz resonant frequency rubber isolators.  This solution is easy and relatively inexpensive. Isolators are available at suppliers such as Karman or McMaster-Carr.  These websites provide instructions on how to order the proper isolators based on the weight of the pump, the desired resonant frequency, and the number of isolators.  This methodology are applicable for chillers, transformers, and other rotating motors as well.
  • Use the proper damping material underneath mechanical equipment. It is tempting to place any available piece of Styrofoam underneath a vacuum pump hoping it will solve vibration issues. This is not the case. Instead, it is important to install the proper damping material as outlined above to successfully damp the vibration from mechanical equipment. Using the incorrect damping material can actually amplify vibration and further degrade the resolution on the microscope image.
  • Ensure that all motors are properly balanced, and the belts are properly fix. An out of balance motor or a loose belt can vibrate at an amplitude that degrades image resolution. These sources are found in the mezzanine above the lab space or in a pump room near the laboratory.
Please contact us if you want to learn more about reducing vibration in your laboratory or have any questions about the improving the image on your microscope.