Frequently Asked Questions
Q) I'm new to MSA products. What should I buy first?
A) First, buy a kit. Once you have an MSA loading block and at least one MkII holder, you're set for years of easy grid loading. Our loading system is demonstrated in a video on the following page: Atom Probe Kit: A.
Q) Could you send us MSA's company information & bank details?
A) Yes - in fact, that information is emailed to you within one minute when you click 'Complete my order' at the checkout.
If you're not ready to pay yet, that's okay - just place a test order anyway (entering your correct delivery address and contact details) and choose 'Bank Deposit' at the checkout to defer payment. You will then be emailed MSA's company information (and the other details your finance department needs).
To streamline the process, you will also receive an invoice number in case you decide to formalise your order in one step by paying for it.
(If your organisation uses purchase orders, you could also use our invoice number as your reference.)
If you decide to never pay, that's fine - consider the invoice a quotation.
No need to send us a purchase order - ordering online is quick and easy.
After your first order, you'll never need to retype your details (unless you opt out of saving your account) so each order will take you about ten seconds (on a touch-screen device) from then on.
Q) Could you send a price quotation / 'quote' / price estimate?
A) Yes, we could, but please note that MSA prices are displayed online all the time.
Also, you can generate an emailed quotation yourself by adding the desired items to your virtual shopping trolley and selecting 'Bank Deposit' at the checkout. You will instantly receive an emailed quotation (AKA an invoice) but you do not need to pay unless/until you are ready. If you decide to never pay, no problem - consider that invoice a quotation. Orders are only processed if payment is received.
If you do decide to pay, your quotation/invoice will instantly be formalised and your order will be processed immediately.
Q) Do you use purchase orders?
A) Thanks for the query. We actually don't use purchase orders. Just order right here online. It is simple, quick and automated. You will then immediately receive an invoice number. Use the invoice number as your reference if your organisation wants to create a purchase order for internal use.
Q) What's the best way to pay?
A) Please pay at the checkout if you can. We accept many payment methods: Apple Pay, Visa, Google Pay, Mastercard, Amex etc.
If you are not able to make immediate payment, choose 'Bank Deposit' at the checkout, which allows you to place your order while deferring your payment. As soon as payment is received, your order will be processed. (The sooner payment is received, the sooner your goods will arrive.)
Q) Do you provide credit?
A) Sorry, we are unable to offer credit. We don't mind if you take time to pay. The sooner payment is received, the sooner our products are sent to you. Thank you for your understanding.
Q) Could you send [a 20th-century-style document]?
A) We are very happy to send you information. Our official documents are electronic and are designed to be legible on all screen sizes. Operating at peak efficiency in the 21st century, our official documents are no longer A4-shaped nor intended for paper.
Q) Why does MSA send grids in partitioned transit cassettes instead of gel packs?
A) We explored gel packs, among other options, and we settled on partitioned transit cassettes. Contrary to appearance and assumption, those cassettes eliminated the costly grid damage that gel packs had been causing upon user lift-out (in short, the gel grips and bends the very fine needles as the grids are peeled off).
We deposit the grids into the cassette cells with no reorientation and therefore absolutely minimal handling after electropolishing. Despite the appearance of non-uniform alignment, and allowance of movement during transit, we are very confident - due to extensive testing and many, many satisfied customers - that any movement of the extremely lightweight grids during transit is inconsequential. The electropolished needles are all protected from surface collisions within the transport cassette by the protective design of our grids and the partitioning within the cassette.
Having said that, there is always a possibility of damage and also variability in the electropolishing so - [spoiler] as a nice little surprise - we always supply you with some additional grids, free of charge, just in case any are unusable.
Since switching to this method we have sent many grids around the world resulting in many happy customers.
Please view your new grids under a microscope to feel the reassurance of which we speak.
If any grids are unsatisfactory, please let us know. We will look after you.
Q) Are MSA specimen holders compatible with standard JEOL (single-tilt) quick-release mechanisms?
A) In all known cases so far, yes. Our system makes handling between FIB, AP, TEM and storage much simpler/safer - as well as cheaper per tip. It also allows for analysis techniques that can not be conducted on Si-tip arrays. We have a growing base of customers using MSA holders exclusively.
The JEOL TEMs follow consistent holder design specifications so both JEOL and third-party holders work across all tools. However, the tilt range of any particular TEM depends on the chosen pole piece, cold finger position, and objective aperture position. In practice, tilting too far will usually result in contacting the cold finger or objective aperture, rather than the pole piece.
Notably, our Mk II holders are smaller than our Mk I holders, so our Mk II holders have a greater tilt range.
We have customers using MSA holders in various JEOL models with no difficulty reported so far. Please join them/us.